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Dark Souls II - All News

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Tuesday - September 02, 2014
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Box Art

Tuesday - September 02, 2014

Dark Souls II - Old Iron King DLC Review

by Couchpotato, 05:24

IncGamers Peter Parrish posted a new review of the new Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King DLC, and gave it a final score aof 9/10. Here is a small sample of why.

Crown of the Sunken King showed that the Dark Souls 2 team were willing and able to address level design criticisms, and Old Iron King furthers this commitment to more expressive structures in its ashen and vertically themed environment. It also provides two tense and challenging boss fights, alongside (mostly) interesting enemy placement. There are infrequent missteps along the way, but in the main Crown of the Old Iron King shows FromSoft are capable of nudging the bar higher in the difficulty arms race without resorting to underhand tricks.

Wednesday - August 27, 2014

Dark Souls II - Crown of the Old Iron King

by Couchpotato, 06:35

Bandai Namco Games & Fromsoftware announce the second DLC called Crown of the Old Iron King is now available for download on Steam for the PC. Here are the details.

DROWN IN THE OBSCUREST AND MOST WICKED PITS WITH CROWN OF THE OLD IRON KING DLC

Forget about the regular obstacles, enemies, and bosses presented in DARK SOULS™ II; FromSoftware today releases Crown of the Old Iron King, the second chapter in its The Lost Crowns DLC trilogy for DARK SOULS II. Each chapter is specifically designed to enhance, challenge, and bring players to their knees as they experience the peril that is awaiting them in the DARK SOULS II The Lost Crowns trilogy.

Unfaltering fans of DARK SOULS™ II will immediately head over to the PlayStation®Network, Xbox Live Marketplace, or STEAM to get this newest chapter in the unyielding DARK SOULS franchise. Gamers that are heroic enough to take on this grueling odyssey will find new environments, enemies, traps, and bosses to conquer as they embark on a journey to reclaim the crowns that Drangleic’s King Vendrick once owned. Crown of the Old Iron King features an entirely different world within the DARK SOULS™ II universe, where players will venture into a massive tower swamped by black mist where flames, smoke and sorcery sadistically lurk.  

DARK SOULS™ II’s Crown of the Old Iron King DLC is available today. Each individual chapter of The Lost Crowns trilogy will be available for purchase in Europe and Australasia via the PlayStation®Network, Xbox Live Marketplace, and STEAM®. The STEAM and PlayStation®Network season passes encompassing all three chapters of The Lost Crowns trilogy are also available!

Saturday - July 26, 2014

Dark Souls II - DLC Review Roundup #2

by Couchpotato, 15:32

This will be the las review roundup for for the latest Dark Souls II DLC Crown of the Sunken King. The two roundups should be enough tio see if you want to buy the DLC.

Eurogamer - 8/10

It's a strong start for this series of add-on chapters for Dark Souls 2, then. There are no standout battles - save, perhaps, for the grim final encounter - but the cumulative effect of its fights, puzzles and secrets is memorable: Sanctum City and its offshoot areas lodge in the mind like so many of this series' locales. It's exciting to see the team return to the ingenious, interlocking layout of Demon's Souls and the first Dark Souls and there are enough novel ideas to be found in this shantytown of pillars, temples and chipped blocks to reassure you that this is a team that has run out of neither inspiration nor vigour.

Gamecloud - No Score Given

Dark Souls II is a phenomenal game and Crown of the Sunken King, the first of the DLC trilogy, feels as if it was always meant to be a part of it. The areas are stunningly unique in appearance, as well as filled with lots of exciting challenges and secrets for players to discover. This time, however, the terrain is actively working against you and the enemies are more relentless than ever. If you haven’t played in awhile, you can expect more than a little frustration as it’s also arguably the toughest area in the Souls series so far. It should take around 3 hours for average players to complete. Regrettably, there isn’t too much narrative to the DLC so far, but it’s still possible that might come later in the trilogy. What makes Dark Souls so great, though, in my opinion, is the community. It’s one of the most enjoyable multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had, and there is nothing more rewarding than working with strangers to survive in this cruel world. It was genuinely great to go back and share my frustration with others. If you’re a fan, make the time.

We Got This Covered - 4/5

The Crown of the Sunken King doesn’t have the immediate lasting power of Artorias of the Abyss, however, this is a very solid piece DLC on its own. There’s enough here to keep even experienced players busy for 5-10 hours, and enough variation in the weapons and items to be found that could switch up the metagame. At the end of the day, this feels like a brilliant and natural extension to the world of Dark Souls II, and if this is any indication of what we should expect with the next two DLC packs, I think it’s safe to say that the season pass is an easy buy for fans of the franchise.

Videogamer -  8/10

Sunken King is a promising start to Dark Souls 2’s DLC: if From Software can build on it, and address the traversal issues of this pack, we could see some of the best moments in the series to date.

Wednesday - July 23, 2014

Dark Souls II - DLC Review Roundup

by Couchpotato, 15:17

Here are a few reviews for the latest Dark Souls II DLC Crown of the Sunken King.

PC Gamer - 85/100

A whole new challenge for diehards, and a lot of content for your money.

IGN - 8/10

The first part of Dark Souls 2's DLC trilogy is as tense, challenging, and rewarding as anything in the series.
Polygon - 8.5/10

Even when it's frustrating, Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King balances out its rough patches with a sense of unbridled satisfaction. It's a perfect example of the interplay between tension and relief that the Souls series has become famous for. 
Don’t expect Dark Souls II: Crown of the Sunken King to match up to Artorias of the Abyss, but it still offers a surprisingly deep and gratifying experience.

Tuesday - July 22, 2014

Dark Souls II - New DLC Released

by Couchpotato, 15:03

From Software announces in the following press release the first DLC for Dark Souls II called Crown of the Sunken King is now available for purchase.

FROMSOFTWARE TAKES PLAYERS TO THE DANKEST, DARKEST DEPTHS IN THE DARK SOULS II WORLD WITH CROWN OF THE SUNKEN KING DLC

As if the regular obstacles, enemies, and bosses presented in Dark Souls™ II were not enough to cause gamers to cry for their mommies; FromSoftware today unleashes Crown of the Sunken King the first chapter in it’s The Lost Crowns DLC trilogy for DARK SOULS II. Each chapter is specifically designed to enhance, challenge, and bring players to their knees as they experience the peril that is awaiting them in the DARK SOULS II The Lost Crowns trilogy.

Stalwart fans of DARK SOULS II will want to immediately head over to the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Marketplace, or STEAM to purchase and download this newest chapter in the unyielding Dark Souls franchise. Players that are brave enough to take on this arduous journey will find new environments, enemies, traps, and bosses to conquer as they embark on a journey to reclaim the crowns that Drangleic’s King Vendrick once owned. Crown of the Sunken King features an entirely different world within the DARK SOULS II universe, where stepped pyramids span a vast underground cavern and death lays in wait around every corner.

DARK SOULS II’s Crown of the Sunken King DLC is available today for Xbox Live Marketplace and will be out on 23/07 for STEAM® and PlayStation®Network. Each individual chapter of The Lost Crowns trilogy will be available for purchase in Europe and Australasia via the PlayStation®Network, Xbox Live Marketplace, and STEAM®. The STEAM and PlayStation®Network season passes encompassing all three chapters of The Lost Crowns trilogy are available from now on!

Since they provide no links you can buy the DLC on Steam here.

Wednesday - July 16, 2014

Dark Souls II - New DLC Screenshots

by Couchpotato, 04:47

If you want see what he new DLC for Dark Souls II looks the head on over to Gaming Everything for a bunch of new screenshots.

Saturday - July 12, 2014

Dark Souls II - Patch 1.08 Details Released

by Couchpotato, 05:49

A site by the name of Junkie Monkeys has details of on the upcoming Dark Souls II patch. I'll have more news when the patch is released on Steam. So read on if you want.

A new version/ regulation (1.08) update is coming to Dark Souls II in the very near future. We have the full list of fixes, changes, weapon buffs, and armor nerfs that are coming in the newest update. Besides a fix for broken hit boxes, From Software has managed to listen to the Souls communities woes yet again.

Here is everything that will be fixed with the new version (1.06 for consoles and 1.04 for PC). The Regulation update list for 1.08 are further below. I’ll add explanations for some of the notes as well.

Wednesday - July 02, 2014

Dark Souls II - Has Ruined Gaming Forever

by Couchpotato, 04:25

Dave Cook of VG 24/7 has posted a new article where he shares his opinion that Dark Souls II has has ruined gaming forever. Bold words indeed so read on to find why.

Dark Souls 2 and its predecessors have changed the way many of us view gaming, and in the case of VG247′s Dave Cook, he can’t stop comparing it to other new games.

Every so often a title will come along that forces players to think differently about gaming. It’s possible this has happened to you already.

Maybe you felt that the story-telling in The Last of Us was so emotional and profound that other narratives suddenly seemed limp by comparison? Perhaps the entirety of Half-Life 2′s Ravenholm section made subsequent tutorials feel clunky and intrusive?

All it takes is for one expertly-crafted piece of gaming to force our expectations to shift dramatically, and for this gamer, that was From Software’s original Dark Souls.

Sunday - June 22, 2014

Dark Souls II - The Trouble with DLC

by Couchpotato, 04:30

Polygon's writer Chris Dahlen shared a new opinion article where he talks about the trouble with DLC for Dark Souls II.

From Software announced that Dark Souls 2 would be getting more levels this fall, but that announcement sank like a stone as people turned their attention to From’s next game, Bloodborne. We’re already on to the next thing.

I didn’t pay much attention to the news either. I finished Dark Souls 2, and I more or less enjoyed it, but I’m not lining up for more content. Dark Souls 2 felt like it was long enough, and maybe even a little too long. I don’t really need any more.

But let’s examine that for a second, because how do you know when a game is "long enough?" It’s not about the hours spent: the first Dark Souls took me around the same number of hours to finish, and I’m grateful for every one of them. It’s not about the story, either. Neither game has a story arc per se. They start, they finish, and there’s a story event about two-thirds of the way through — but that story event is more of a seventh-inning stretch, a pause to send you into the endgame.

Wednesday - June 18, 2014

Dark Souls II - DLC Preview @ EuroGamer

by Couchpotato, 05:39

EuroGamer previews the upcoming DLC for Dark Souls II, and comes to the conclusion the DLC doesn't look that tough. Here is a sample of why they think that is.

Some Souls fans may decry the addition of DLC so shortly after the main game has launched - although it's hard to argue that Dark Souls 2 was small - but Yoshimura is adamant that the new content's production was a response to the game's sales in the west anyway. "It was really last-minute that we became confident about the game content. We were so anxious about it," he says about the parent game's unenviable goal of having to follow up the cherished Dark Souls. "In regards to the DLC, after we finished creating the game we had a will to create the DLC, but we weren't sure if [Dark Souls 2] was going to be successful, so it was only after we released the game that we decided to do the DLC."

With the unofficial Souls successor Bloodborne on the way, Dark Souls 2's DLC looks a fraction less fresh and inspired than it would have last year, but even a slightly lacklustre addition to the Souls franchise is still an engaging experience. Furthermore, the somewhat malleable environments, fresh foes and optional challenging routes should provide added incentive to explore Dark Souls 2's robust combat systems and marvellous monstrosities even further. For fans of the series, that's in no way a bad thing.

Tuesday - June 17, 2014

Dark Souls II - E3 2014 Producer Interview

by Couchpotato, 05:34

Namco Bandai Games has released a new E3 2014 producer interview video.

Our Community Manager J. Kartje interviews Global Dark Souls II Producer
Atsuo Yoshimura about the upcoming DLC packs for Dark Souls II! They
discuss new areas, community feedback, new weapons/armor/spells,
upcoming game balancing, and more.

Three harrowing chapters of Dark Souls II DLC are on the way for
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC players:

The Crown of the Sunken King - July 22, 2014
The Crown of the Old Iron King - August 26, 2014
The Crown of the Ivory King - September 24, 2014


The Crown of the Sunken King sends players on a quest to reclaim the
Crown that King Vendrick once owned. With an entirely new areas to
explore within the Dark Souls II universe, players will find pyramids,
underground caverns, and unknown foes. It is said that the Ancient Crown
is buried deep below the surface, but surely it cannot sit unguarded.

Sunday - June 15, 2014

Dark Souls II - E3 DLC Previews

by Couchpotato, 05:34

The Lost Crowns DLC for Dark Souls II was demoed at E3 this week , and a few sites managed to post a preview. I managed to find two of them for everyone to read.

Gamespot

Sadly, there wasn't much to the demo that was worth talking about. Unlike Artorias of the Abyss (Dark Souls' lone DLC), which thrust you into a hectic boss fight from the beginning, then pushed you through a forest teeming with monsters to another intense battle, Sunken King is little more than a typical stretch of Souls action. Now, that's a good thing, because Dark Souls is one of my favorite franchises in existence. However, fighting one enemy type along narrow crevices was hardly noteworthy. I'm crossing my fingers that something fascinating will emerge if I get deeper into the adventure, but in my short time with the game, I left feeling slightly deflated.

Joystiq

As someone who liked Dark Souls 2 but felt it didn't provide the same punishing journey the first two Souls games provided, I hope the DLC not only provides "more challenges" as promised by Bandai Namco, but also more challenge. Either way, I'll be there when the first chapter, "Crown of the Sunken King," hits PC and Xbox on July 22 and PS3 on July 23.

Thursday - June 12, 2014

Dark Souls II - New DLC Screenshots

by Couchpotato, 04:36

Destructoid has posted twelve new screenshots of the new Dark Souls II DLC.

In case you haven't heard, DLC is coming to Dark Souls II. Three add-ons in fact! The first up is Crown of the Sunken King, set to drop on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on July 22nd.

To celebrate, Bandai Namco sent over some screens to that show off some of the new locales -- yep, this is a Souls game alright, but it's going to have to do a whole lot to top Artorias of the Abyss. The Season Pass is listed at $24.99 if you're interested.

Wednesday - June 11, 2014

Dark Souls II - New Interview & Patch

by Couchpotato, 04:37

Game Trailers managed to get an interview with Atsuo Yoshimura at E3.

Talk with Atsuo Yoshimura about the greatest game ever made: Dark Souls 2.

The game also has a new patch on the way according the games website.

All versions of Dark Souls II are planned to be updated shortly.
This update is meant to improve user experience.

Issues fixed in the new update:
1) Fixes issue which allows users to dash at high speed
2) Fixes issue which allows users to float in the air

Update Schedule:
PlayStation 3: Planned Friday 6/13
Xbox 360: Planned Monday 6/16
STEAM: Planned Tuesday 6/10

Regulation Version Update:
All Platforms: “1.06” to “1.07”
(The game contents will not be changed. Only the issues above are addressed.)

Game Version Update:
PlayStation 3: “1.04” to “1.05”
Xbox 360: “1.04” to “1.05”
STEAM: “1.02” to “1.03”

Monday - June 09, 2014

Dark Souls II - Thirteen Haunting GIFs

by Couchpotato, 05:32

PC Gamer posted a new article that contains thirteen haunting GIFs for Dark Souls II.

Dark Souls 2 looks beautiful by any stretch, especially at 4K resolution as I've demonstrated in my Screenshot Showcase, but there's nothing quite like seeing it in motion. The oozing lava, the flocking birds, the ash clouds swirling through the air. I got the idea from cinemagraphs—still images that contain moving pieces. Confessedly it's a term I find a bit pretentious, so I'll continue calling them GIFs. Now, anyone can make a video clip. The aim here was to create a series of living photographs. Personally, I think it's the closet you can get to Dark Souls 2 without playing it, which you should, because it's great.

Thursday - June 05, 2014

Dark Souls II - Three New DLC Chapters

by Couchpotato, 03:39

Bandai Namco sent out a press release with information about three new DLCs for Dark Souls II. The first one called Crown of the Sunken King will be released on July, 22.

NEW CHALLENGES AWAIT AS DARK SOULS II IS BESTOWED ADDITIONAL CHAPTERS WITH THE LOST CROWNS DLC TRILOGY

The Lost Crowns trilogy’s Season pass available today for purchase on Steam and PlayStation®Network -

PARIS, FRANCE – June 4, 2014 – BANDAI NAMCO Games Europe S.A.S and FromSoftware today announced the impending arrival of three new DLC chapters to the critically acclaimed DARK SOULS II for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PC. These three new DLC chapters known as The Lost Crowns trilogy will take DARK SOULS II fans through entirely original areas to face a slew of unknown enemies, overcome diabolic challenges, and take-on fearsome bosses. Crown of the Sunken King, the first chapter in this DLC trilogy, will be available in Europe and Australasia on July, 22, 2014 for PC and Xbox/July 23 for PlayStation®3, followed with the DLC launches of Crown of the Old Iron King on August 26, 2014 for PC and Xbox/ August 27 for PlayStation®3 and Crown of the Ivory King on September 23, 2014 for PC and Xbox/ September 24 for PlayStation®3. A Season Pass program is also available for the entire The Lost Crowns trilogy via Steam for PC and PlayStation®Network for PS3TM from today.

Crown of the Sunken King, the first chapter in the trilogy, sends players on a journey to reclaim the crowns that Drangleic’s King Vendrick once owned. Crown of the Sunken King features an entirely different world within the DARK SOULS II universe, where stepped pyramids span a vast underground cavern. It is said that one of the ancient crowns lay buried deep within these dark caverns; but surely such a valued item cannot sit unguarded. Players that seek adversity and glory will be rewarded with a crown that holds the strength of lords from times long past.

We are pleased to offer this new Dark Souls experience with The Lost Crowns trilogy to players seeking for more challenges!” said Herve Hoerdt, Vice President of IP Strategy, Marketing & PR at BANDAI NAMCO Games Europe. “With this Season Pass, Bandai Namco Games is pleased to extend the Dark Souls experience over this summer!”

Tuesday - June 03, 2014

Dark Souls II - In 20 Minutes

by Myrthos, 10:13

To continue the previous story on having a backlog. If you have Dark Souls II still in that backlog, here is a way to finish the game in about 20 minutes.

Monday - May 12, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ IncGamers

by Couchpotato, 06:13

IncGamers has a new article they posted a few days ago that takes a look at both Dark Souls games, and debates which game is bettter than the other one.

Dark Souls 2 vs Dark Souls: The Merits of Each Title

Peter [Parrish]: Now that Tim and I have both finished Dark Souls 2, it’s only right to decide which of the original and sequel is the better game. Nothing has meaning unless it is being ruthlessly graded and categorised, so in this battle of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls titles there can only be one triumphant winner and one pathetic loser who may as well not even have been created.

That’s crazy nonsense talk of course. Both of the games are spectacular in their own way and, in leaving a mark on the cultural discourse of the medium, achieve what few other titles do. The two Dark Souls games are somewhat different however, and these differences in design invite some discussion. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS ARTICLE. Just so everyone is clear on that.

Saturday - May 10, 2014

Dark Souls II - New Editorial & Q&A

by Couchpotato, 08:02

From Software has a posted a new Q&A on the steam forums that answers a few questions about the PC release of Dark Souls II.

Now that Dark Souls II is out on PC we (Bandai Namco Games) would like to field any on-going or outstanding questions you have about the game. We see comments, concerns, bug reports, rants, and raves all over. And it's quite difficult to keep up with all the different conversations happening in different places. But we'd like to help you get answers to some of your questions regarding the game. Bear in mind that we are not the developers, that honor still sits with FromSoftware, but we are constantly sending feedback their way. We're committed to making sure your opinions are heard and you have a great Dark Souls II experience.

We'll do our best to answer any questions posted in this thread. If there's a question that we don't know the answer to or can't answer at this time, we'll try to notate that.

If you have questions about ongoing bug reports, cheaters, bans, game functionality, leave them in this thread and we'll update over the next few days with as many answers as possible.

And it seems Forbes has another article where they call it the worst game ever made.

We have reached a point in our modernization where it seems we are more indebted to our symbolic objects than the people we live amongst, in terms of both time, energy, and attention. If we are indeed advancing through history and not treading water or actively receding back into it, our progress might be traced through our willingness to exchange one another for symbolic succor, and the farther we progress the more interchangeable the game and the player become . The longer I spend on these quests for achievement and advancement, the more I wish to have never begun them at all. I can think of no worse end to an undertaking than to regret its conception, and for me there can be no better measure for saying Dark Souls II the worst game I’ve ever played.

Friday - May 09, 2014

Dark Souls II - 1.2 Million Units Sold

by Couchpotato, 05:45

Gamasutra has an article that talks about Namco Bandai quarterly earnings, and it mentions Dark Souls II has sold 1.2 million units worldwide.

Although Namco Bandai's profits took a tumble during the last fiscal year, the company's video game business was, in fact, the only sector that saw a rise in earnings.

It was mainly the publisher's amusement machine business that caused the drop in profits, as it swung to losses. Video game sales were actually slightly up year-over-year, accounting for 84.9 billion yen ($833.9 million) compared to 84.4 billion yen ($829.1 million).

Dark Souls II in particular sold well for the company, with 1.2 million units sold worldwide. Meanwhile God Eater 2 managed 700,000 units sold in Japan, and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z sold 620,000 units worldwide.

Friday - May 02, 2014

Dark Souls II - Review @ GameBanshee

by Myrthos, 12:39

GameBanshee has a lengthy review of Dark Souls II, which notes shortcomings but can't stop the reviewer of recommending the game.

Given Dark Souls II dropped both the original's light/dark dichotomy and its interconnected world structure, it allowed itself to be far more varied in locations, and now ranges from Gothic castles sinking into the lava, to underground pirates' dens, to thick, overgrown forts. In other words, the game makes full use of classic fantasy iconography while also presenting its own twists. Unfortunately, the environmental art isn't always as consistent as it could be: when the game is at its best it looks far better than either of its predecessors, but spotting tiled textures, flat lighting or similar oversights is easier than it should be, and there's at least one location that looks like it never got a much-needed art pass before release. And yes, the elephant in the room here is that, even at its best, the game never looks like it did during its first pre-release outings. I don't know about the whys and hows, which might well be legitimate, but a bit more honesty in marketing and communication would have been appreciated on part of both Namco Bandai and From Software. Luckily, the armor sets and weapons present the same kind of consistency and variety we've grown to expect of the series, with most of them looking practical without being bogged by historical accuracy, and all of them sharing a certain design sensibility that allows even the most absurd ones (like, for example, a statue wielded like a sword thanks to a tacked-on hilt) to feel like they belong in the world. Equally deserving of praise are the enemy designs and models, as they stand up to the high standards the series has established.

Thursday - May 01, 2014

Dark Souls II - PC Review Round-up

by Myrthos, 15:13

Here is a collection of reviews for Dark Souls II that appeared in the last week.

Rock Paper Shotgun reviews Dark Souls II and concludes it is a good game, but not the great game the reviewer expected it to be.

Those people who play with the intent of creating the most powerful character possible and beating the cruel systems at their own game will be in their element. I saw the shade of a character by one bonfire who looked like she’d been plucked straight from an anime series or a JRPG, with an enormous sword resting on each shoulder. I like that it’s possible to build those characters but I also know that’s not why I’m playing. It’s entirely possible to direct your late-game and new game + characters toward PvP dominance and the layout of some levels seems directly attuned to the qualities of specific classes for just that purpose.

For me, Dark Souls is at its best when I’m harrowed and hollow, lost and cursed and beaten down. I love the eventual victories but I appreciate the journey toward them far more than the end result. The journey through Draenglic is a memorable one but some of the mystery and the rot has gone from this world.

Gambit Magazine, 4/5

Dark Souls 2 for the PC is a great game, one that puts the console versions to shame. Seriously, if you play it on PC on full settings then go and play it on the consoles, you are going to be disappointed. It’s by no means a perfect game, and I feel like many reviewers are throwing around ridiculously high scores of 90 and up simply to appease their reader base, but the core gameplay in Dark Souls 2 is just so good that it does manage to brush aside much of the games shortcoming.

WorldsFactory

Graphically, Dark Souls II on PC outperforms its console counterparts on virtually every element. Resolution is higher, texture quality can be set higher, there is better anti-aliasing, SSAO, characters model quality is higher… Every graphic option can be set to be better than what we’ve seen on console. On console, make no mistake, the areas tended to look beautiful in places, eerie in others, but mainly because of the artwork, which truly shines on PC. Light shafts filter through high-up windows and bonfires look gorgeous surrounded by a glowing orange hue; the game, although mostly dark and sad, has moments of true beauty. Praise the Sun!

Twinfinite, 5/5

Let’s face facts; Dark Souls was one hell of a tough act to follow. At the time of its release, it was mostly considered a niche title that against all odds became a sensation. Nobody was expecting it, and it felt like the most amazing surprise to gamers; warts and all. With Dark Souls II on the other hand, EVERYBODY was waiting to see if From Software could top it. While I’ll admit it doesn’t quite have the same level of mystique as its predecessor, they managed to produce a follow-up that is bigger, prettier, and every bit as challenging. Dark Souls II is an absolute feast of a game, and it will be a long, long time before I’m sated by it.

Continue Play, 8/10

Perhaps we're being too critical and elitist about Dark Souls 2. New players will get an amazing experience, and we highly encourage everyone to play the game. But in the end we were left a little disappointed, wanting more out of Dark Souls 2 than we got. Not all of its concessions to accessibility work for the better, while other areas that could have benefited from a re-think remain disappointingly clumsy. The re-use of many concepts from the previous game also disappoints.

However, despite its faults, Dark Souls 2 is still likely to be one of the best games released this year. It's engrossing, it has plenty of replay value, and there's likely plenty of secrets locked away in its depths waiting to be uncovered; but if From Software was hoping to top Dark Souls, they still have some way to go.

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ Press2Reset

by Couchpotato, 03:52

Press2Reset has a new article for Dark Souls II that talks about some their problems with the game. So after reading the article do any of you agree with him?

Despite its glowing scores across the board, Sean Knight is taking aim at some issues he has with Dark Souls II

I’ve been playing quite a bit of Dark Souls II lately and, to be honest, I’m not too sure about the game. At times I enjoy it, and then there are other times when I find it annoying. There are just some things that I can’t get over; things that I have to point out that I would never include in a review.

For instance, the way the player character holds a shield. Seriously, did someone call the limphand brigade to design the shield’s grip? There are supposed to be two straps on the back of that shield so as to allow your entire forearm to support it. If you were to hold a shield the way they do in Dark Souls II, your wrist would quickly be broken while trying to block or deflect a blow. That, or you wouldn’t be able to hold it that way for more than 10 seconds.

Wednesday - April 30, 2014

Dark Souls II - Face-Off @ Eurogamer

by Couchpotato, 01:31

Eurogamer has a new article that compares the PC build , and the console build of Dark Souls II. They even include a new video to show the differences.

The original Dark Souls on PC was undoubtedly a disappointment out of the box, with a 1024x720 native resolution and a 30fps cap that stuck agonisingly close to its console counterparts. Dark Souls 2 is certainly a big improvement on that, offering a generous range of visual options, but does that make for a dramatic improvement over the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions? And are there any catches?

The original game had a toggle for anti-aliasing (a simple blur filter) and another for motion blur, leading to a flood of complaints, but the sequel nips a lot of problems in the bud immediately by adding proper support for resolutions and refresh rates, going as high as your monitor allows - right up to 4K if you're so inclined. For the purposes of our testing, we run the game on patch 1.01 at 1920x1080, which immediately gives the game a marked leap in visual quality compared with the 720p image on consoles.

There's no sign of From Software reverting the PC version's lighting model and textures back to its alluring alpha build, but we do get a hefty graphics menu. Among the choices we have are quality options for textures, shadows, effects, anisotropic filtering, water shaders and character model detail. On top of that, we get toggles for motion blur, screen-space ambient occlusion (SSAO) and depth of field. The anti-aliasing method of choice is FXAA, with no official means of enabling more taxing post-process techniques like SMAA in-game.

Running Dark Souls 2 at its high preset, with all effects enabled, we see very obvious differences to the console releases in some areas and less obvious changes in others. To see the breadth of the visual spectrum here, we add the lowest PC preset into the image zoomer comparisons far below - showing us where the two consoles fall in-between - but first we match up the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions in head-to-head videos, and also produce a lengthy 66-shot Dark Souls 2 comparison gallery.

Monday - April 28, 2014

Dark Souls II - GeDoSa Mod

by Couchpotato, 05:12

Peter "Durante" Thoman the modder who made the DSfix mod for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die has released his next mod called GeDoSa for Dark Souls II.

GeDoSaTo Dark Souls 2 Edition 0.3 ALPHA Release

This release is entirely dedicated to fixing the issues of the previous ambient occlusion implementation interacting with fog and alpha blended effects such as when you rest at a bonfire or fog walls. It also updates the AO shader to a new version by Asmodean.

When I set out to do this I expected it to take about an hour – it ended up at around 5. I first tried to apply the ambient occlusion in the game’s shadow buffer, and got that to work, but sadly there isn’t any shadow buffer in some areas! So I had to throw that away and start from scratch. Now the AO is applied in the base (linear color) HDR pass before alpha effects are rendered. A few shader-level tweaks might still be necessary, but at least the basics are now solid.

Saturday - April 26, 2014

Dark Souls II - New Interview & Video

by Couchpotato, 04:10

Rock, Paper, Shotgun interviewed Tak Miyazoe to talk about cheaters, lack of mod support, and the port of the PC version of Dark Souls II.

RPS: How much did you focus on optimization for DSII? Will it run well on a broad spectrum of machines?

Miyazoe: We have put a lot of emphasis and focus on optimization for Dark Souls II so that players can have a smooth, in-depth experience on a wide range of platforms including the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. We did our best to allow players with a wide range of PC specs to enjoy the game without cutting away the importance of the high sense of achievement or the connections felt on the online space.

RPS: For which specific reasons did you delay the PC version? What specific aspects of the port required more development time? PC ports tend to get delayed frequently, but no one ever really talks about why. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons. Other times it’s… questionable.

Miyazoe: We wanted to make sure we provide the most important PC centric features such as improved texture graphics, higher frame rates and also keyboard/mouse mapping controls. We tried to incorporate as much feedback from the PC fans, and spent the extra time in development to deliver the genuine Dark Souls II experience on the PC platform.

Since we're talking about the port From Software has posted information on the games forum about the launch issues. Here is a small sample of the forum post.

We want to use this post as a placeholder to give you updates on any outstanding issues players may be having with the game. We also wanted to share with you the best way to get in touch with our support team.

Thank you everyone for helping to identify any issues. We'll be working hard to escalate and investigate any problems you're having. We will also continue to monitor these forums for any further issues.

And to finish the news-bit jhwisner sent in a link for a video from TotalBiscuit.

TotalBiscuit takes a quick look at Dark Souls 2, discussing mainly the port features.

Friday - April 25, 2014

Dark Souls II - Now Available on Steam

by Couchpotato, 04:24

Steam announces that Dark Souls II is now available for download, or purchase. Here is a new launch trailer that comes with a spoiler warning.

 

Now Available on Steam - Dark Souls II

Developed by FROM SOFTWARE, Dark Souls™ II is the highly anticipated sequel to the gruelling 2011 breakout hit Dark Souls. The unique old-school action RPG experience captivated imaginations of gamers worldwide with incredible challenge and intense emotional reward.

Dark Souls II brings the franchise’s renowned obscurity & gripping gameplay innovations to both single and multiplayer experiences.

Join the dark journey and experience overwhelming enemy encounters, diabolical hazards, and the unrelenting challenge that only FROM SOFTWARE can deliver.

Wednesday - April 23, 2014

Dark Souls II - New Trailer & Screenshots

by Couchpotato, 05:29

Namco Bandai released a new cinematic trailer for Dark Souls II called Longing. So no spoilers this time just CGI if your interested in watching it of course.

Don't miss the hardest game you'll ever love. Explore a vast breathtaking world filled with mythical monsters & murderous bosses. It's about the journey, not the destination.

Also Softpedia has posted some new PC screenshots.

There has been some talk regarding a rumored drop in visual quality for the PC version of Bandai Namco's action role-playing game, in order to make it look on par with the PlayStation and Xbox 360 versions.

Disturbing as the rumors might have been, they were apparently unfounded, as Bandai Namco has released a bunch of screenshots from the PC version of Dark Souls 2, showing a beautifully detailed world with some impressive effects.

Sunday - April 20, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ IGN

by Couchpotato, 05:48

IGN has a new article for Dark Souls II where they discuss how you can make the game harder than it already is. So it's not for the faint of heart, or casual gamer.

Increasing the difficulty of Dark Souls 2 may be accomplished through several methods. Players seeking even greater challenges may employ Bonfire Ascetics, the Covenant of the Company of Champions, and many other methods to their advantage.

Friday - April 18, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 12:16

PC Gamer has a new article with Peter "Durante" Thoman the man who made the DSfix mod where he talks about the ports of Dark Souls I & II.

Dark Souls 2 PC port: mod god Durante's verdict

In 2012, Peter "Durante" Thoman wrote the popular mod DSfix for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die on PC, fixing its locked 1024x720 resolution and other issues. In 2013, he released a similar fix for Deadly Premonition. We asked Durante to analyze the PC port of Dark Souls 2 in a series of articles.

After an initial outing on PC which was barely serviceable—rendering at 1024x720, locked at 30 FPS with unusable mouse controls—From Software and Namco Bandai have a lot to prove with this sequel. For Dark Souls 2, PC was reportedly considered a major target platform from the start. In this article, I'll first investigate the technical quality of the port compared to Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition and the console versions of Dark Souls 2. Then I'll have a closer look at the options included in the game and analyze their impact.

A Good Port

Dark Souls 2 on PC is a massively improved effort compared to its predecessor. It renders at any resolution a given system supports, its framerate varies smoothly up to 60 FPS, it performs well even on modest systems—more on that topic later—and it comes with a wealth of graphical options. The following table summarizes most of the improvement

Wednesday - April 16, 2014

Dark Souls II - $40 on Green Man Gaming

by Couchpotato, 06:33

Green Man Gaming is selling the PC version ofDark Souls II for only $40 after you use the following code O3H7FE-D4NFO0-F0LIGK at checkout. I have no information for how long the sale is good for so buy it now if you can't find it cheaper anywhere else.

 

Friday - April 11, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ EDGE

by Couchpotato, 05:16

EDGE has posted a new article about the staff still playing Dark Souls II, and why the Souls games  difficulty is a damaging myth. Here is a small part of the article.

It’s become something of a badge of honour, this delight in the opaque. The Souls games are positioned as an antidote to the modern game design consensus, to big-budget games whose makers’ obsession with keeping the disc in the tray means games have never been so fatuous, so facile. And there’s merit to that. But there’s a big difference between hardcore and just plain hard. Candy Crush Saga is every bit as punishing as this, yet it is played by tens of millions every day. Until the conversation around Dark Souls shifts focus to its true strengths, it will forever remain in its niche, starved of the wider recognition it so deserves.

Wednesday - April 09, 2014

Dark Souls II - PC Overview @ Polygon

by Couchpotato, 04:45

Polygon has posted a new video with a look at the improvements of the PC version.

Griffin explores the various performance improvements of the PC version.

Monday - March 24, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ Eurogamer

by Couchpotato, 04:52

Eurogamer has a new article with an update on the downgraded graphics.

UPDATE 21/03 2PM GMT: A Forbes reporter heard more about the issue from a source close to development.

It all boils down to "playable framerate", apparently. "The early builds that the screenshots came from were playable but only just so," the source said. "The game was not in a state where it could be sold at that point. I strongly suspect that they were focusing heavily on delivering a top-notch experience on PC and underestimated the challenges the new systems would pose on PS3 / Xbox360."

"I sincerely don't think they intended to deceive, but in the end they sacrificed a huge amount of graphical fidelity at the very end of development because they couldn't resolve the framerate in any other way."

The footage and trailers From Software used, it did with best intentions, unaware of the sacrifice it would later have to make, the source propositioned.

"The game would have been much worse without the change (as in, many would call it unplayable and broken.)"

Theoretically, such issues could be resolved for a PC version, and Bandai Namco told Forbes we'd hear more about that version in April. The forward-looking engine would also shine on PS4 and Xbox One, From Software told IGN earlier this year, although no next-gen versions of the game have been announced.

Thursday - March 20, 2014

Dark Souls II - From Software Responds

by Couchpotato, 04:15

MCV has a response from From Software about the  Dark Souls II graphics downgrade. It looks like the PC version might be affected also. So this is not good news.

The developer of Dark Souls has at last responded to concerns about the visuals offered by the game’s retail release.

Consumers last week launched a campaign aimed at both developer From Software and publisher Namco Bandai, alleging that the graphics on offer in the shipped retail version of the game are significantly different from preview material being circulated as recently as a few weeks before launch.

"Throughout the game development process, a game is constantly being balanced not only in game playability, but also in the realm of resource management,” From told MCV.

“A developer is always challenged with creating the most rewarding gaming experience while delivering continuity in graphical quality, gameplay dynamics, and balance within the game. The final version of Dark Souls II displays the culmination of this delicate balance and we’re very proud of the positive media and fan reception for the game.”

Wednesday - March 19, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ Forbes

by Couchpotato, 03:09

Forbes Contributor Erik Kain has a new article for Dark Souls II where he talks about what he thinks are the real problems of the game. Here is a small snip of the article.

You can read the first part of my Dark Souls II review here. See my commentary on the lighting and graphics downgrade controversy here.

As we’ve already discussed, Dark Souls II has sparked controversy. Some of it is simply gamers upset at changes to the gameplay. Not everyone is fond of despawning enemies or the dwindling health bar, for instance.

The major controversy surrounds the apparent downgrade of textures and lighting effects. There’s no doubt the lighting was entirely overhauled for the release. I’m less certain as to whether the texture replacement was for aesthetic reasons or something else. Bandai Namco and FromSoftware have not commented.

As I noted previously, I’m not really bothered so much as perplexed by these graphical changes. The game still looks and plays about like I’d expect. The graphical changes haven’t diminished my experience.

However, I would like to talk about some of the things that I do find truly bothersome or disappointing in the game (so far.)

Sunday - March 16, 2014

Dark Souls II - Interview @ Paste Magazine

by Couchpotato, 04:20

Producer Takeshi Miyazoe was interviewed by Paste Magazine to answer a few questions about Dark Souls II. Here is a sample of the interview below.

It seems like every game gets a sequel or reboot eventually, but Dark Souls II never felt like a given. Yes, Dark Souls was a success, but it was already a sequel in all but name to the cult favorite Demon’s Souls, and there wasn’t obvious room for improvement on the mission statement of punishing the player as much as possible. You can easily play Dark Souls for hundreds of hours without completely exhausting it—why would you need a sequel? The only way to make Dark Souls harder is to remove vital body parts from the player, and that doesn’t seem like a deal most would be willing to make.

Of course From Software, the designers of Dark Souls, could’ve gone in the opposite direction, and try to make a sequel that toned down the difficulty in hopes of attracting a new and larger audience. Perhaps they could’ve scrapped the confrontational online features, where players can leave (often misleading) tips for each other, or “invade” other players’ games and hunt them down, in favor of more traditional or balanced multiplayer modes. But then they’d be turning their backs on the most defining features of the Souls series, and no doubt driving away a good portion of their fans. As Dark Souls II producer Takeshi Miyazoe tells Paste, “the high sense of achievement and the loose connections with other players are the core conceptual pillars to the Dark Souls franchise. With Dark Souls II, the intent was to streamline the experience and provide a more direct expression of the core essence.”

Friday - March 14, 2014

Dark Souls II - More Video Interviews

by Couchpotato, 05:18

I managed to roundup two more video interviews for Dark Souls II. The first video is from GamerHubTV were they interview Dark Souls II Producer Tak Miyazoe.

Dark Souls II Producer Tak Miyazoe discusses the new RPG from developer From Software and Bandai Namco Games in this exclusive interview from the launch event in San Francisco.

The second video interview is with Community Manager Joseph Kartje on Spawnfirst.

SlasherJPC: Interview with Joseph Kartje - Bandai Namco Community Manager
These questions were sent to him a couple of days before release.

Tuesday - March 11, 2014

Dark Souls II - Review Roundup

by Myrthos, 15:00

Here are a bunch of reviews for Dark Souls II, based on the Xbox and PlayStaion releases:

Dark Souls II - Console Face-Off

by Myrthos, 12:20

Here is something that might be interesting for console players; Eurogamer compares how Dark Souls 2 runs on Xbox 360 and PS3, without being able to declare a winner.

Out with the old and in with the new, Dark Souls 2 offers up the biggest technical overhaul to the series so far. With a new directorial team at the helm and a purpose-built engine bringing the eerie world of Drangleic to life, developer From Software uses the opportunity to trial new rendering techniques on PS3 and 360 in advance of their appearance on next-gen platforms. But while we're left with a string of upgrades in physics, lighting and effects, there are also some cutbacks we hadn't expected to see.

Straight away we can pinpoint a clear technical advance in Dark Souls 2's resolution of choice, where it's now a full native 1280x720 on both PS3 and 360. On paper this should count as a massive boon to its presentation, but in practice the boosted pixel count only faintly improves image clarity over the original Dark Souls' 1024x720 frame-buffer. A reliance on a post-process edge filter is to blame: it's an effective aliasing-killer, but many highlights in texture-work and alpha effects are dulled, and on both Sony and Microsoft platforms alike the game produces a softer image than we'd hoped. Nevertheless, it's an improvement - and a positive start as we venture deeper into a game world that promises to be the team's largest yet.

Dark Souls II - Two New Trailers

by Couchpotato, 04:45

Namco Bandai has released two new trailers this week for Dark Souls II. Just remember both of them as usual are full of spoilers. You have been warned.

The first trailer is the full prologue cinematic.

Feast your eyes on the first part of the Dark Souls II prologue.
Your journey to get rid of the Curse begins...

The second is a new gameplay trailer called Locomotive Breath.

The release of Dark Souls II is now closer than ever. In a few days you will be able to (re)-experience multiple death to you will! Enjoy one last time some of the nightmarish creatures you'll face in Drangleic...Praise the sun, straighten your soul: you will need it.

Monday - March 10, 2014

Dark Souls II - Journal of Death @ IGN

by Couchpotato, 04:57

IGN played five hours of Dark Souls II, and decided to write about it in a new article. So it goes without saying beware of spoilers. Now read on if you dare.

My extensive time with Dark Souls II taught me that this entry carries the series’ torch of throwing players into gameplay rapids rolling with crushing defeats, great triumphs, and plenty of unexpected twists. I walked away feeling like I played more of the first game. From Software and new director Yui Tanimura are clearly trying to replicate the experience that came before, and I think that’s a great decision.

Sunday - March 09, 2014

Dark Souls II - 8 Questions Answered

by Couchpotato, 04:21

IGN has released another video for Dark Souls 2 this week, and this time they ask the publisher Namco Bandai eight questions from their readers.

We asked your tough questions about Dark Souls 2 to the team at Namco Bandai. Here's what they had to say.

Friday - March 07, 2014

Dark Souls II - PC Release Date Announced

by Couchpotato, 05:46

Seems the release date of the picture from a few days ago was correct. Namco Bandai sent out a new press release announcing the PC release date is April 25th.

CHALLENGES AWAIT PC GAMERS! DARK SOULS II FOR PC IS COMING ON 25TH APRIL, 2014!

PARIS, FRANCE –6th March 2014 – NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe S.A.S. announced today that DARK SOULS™ II for PC and STEAM® is scheduled to launch in Europe and Australasia on April 25th. DARK SOULS™ II for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft will be available on March 14th, 2014.

Adventurers will be delighted to discover that the PC & STEAM® version will fully benefit from PC capabilities: increased texture resolution and an enhanced frame rate option. On top of that, FromSoftware have been working to perfectly adapt the game for a mouse & keyboard combo.

As for console, and while supplies last, fans pre-ordering the game will receive the Black Armour Edition – containing an Exclusive Metal Case, the Original Game Soundtrack and an early access to the Black Armour Weapon Set – or if pre-ordered on STEAM® fans will get bonuses -  digital soundtrack and the early access to the Black Armour Weapon Set, the Official Dark Souls™ II Artbook in PDF format and The complete Dark Souls™ II Digital Comic Book (written by Rob Williams and Andi Ewington with art provided by Simon Coleby) as digital extras for a complete immersion in the universe of DARK SOULS™ II.

“We’re conscious of the high expectations from PC gamers and are working with FROMSOFTWARE in ensuring that the PC version of Dark Souls II offers the best experience possible. said Mathieu PIAU, EMEA Marketing Director at NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe. “After an amazing first opus, DARK SOULS II promises an even more engaging, richer and challenging adventure that should please all gamers, regardless of their platform of choice.”

Dark Souls II will be launching in Europe and Australasia on March 14, 2014 on the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft with the PC edition to follow on 25th April 2014. To learn more about Dark Souls II and pre-order the game, please visit www.DarkSoulsII.com/.

Thursday - March 06, 2014

Dark Souls II - Development Diary Video

by Couchpotato, 05:49

IGN has posted the second Development Diary video for Dark Souls II. This time From Software talks about enemy, and boss design.

Dark Souls' atmosphere and punishing difficulty rely greatly on the creatures that populate the world. See how devs at FromSoftware bring the challenge to life.

Wednesday - March 05, 2014

Dark Souls II - Character Creation Video

by Couchpotato, 05:19

IGN has posted a new video for Dark Souls II that asks  From Software what type of characters they want to play as, and watch them recrate them in game.

See how Dark Souls 2 character creation works, as we recreate From Software devs' personal characters.

Tuesday - March 04, 2014

Dark Souls II - Inteview @ OXM

by Couchpotato, 05:32

Bandai Namco's Producer Takeshi Miyazoe is interviewed by OXM to talk about how they are targeting a a wider audience for Dark Souls II.

Dark Souls' greatest triumph was always its fairness. Yes, it was hard, but if you paid attention you could beat it - and if you failed it was probably your own fault, a few dementedly unforgiving boss battles aside. Dark Souls 2 will be a little more transparent in its dealings with the player, according to Bandai Namco producer Takeshi Miyazoe, without sacrificing the capacity for enigma that saw its predecessor become such a cult hit.

The marginally greater emphasis on accessibility will be felt at every level of the experience. Take melee, for instance. "It's a lot of things that happen behind the scenes, like the motion capture," Miyazoe told us at a hands-on event. "In the previous game, the player motions were hand-animated, whereas this time they're motion-captured by stunt artists." The result is a combat system that feels more intuitive, less "gamey" - it's a little easier to pick up on the cues that advertise a break in a combo, for instance.

Sunday - March 02, 2014

Dark Souls II - April PC Release?

by Couchpotato, 04:54

VG 24/7 has news that Dark Souls 2 will be released on the PC in April. They even have an ad with the date, and collector's edition. Unfortunately Namco wont acknowledge it.

Dark Souls 2 will be released on PC April 25, according to an advert from Bandai Namco posted on Siliconera.

Amazon had it listed previously for a May 31 release, but that appears to have just been a place holder – if the advert is genuine.

Namco has since tweeted that it has not announced a release date, but will have “more on it soon”.

The game will purportedly have 4x the resolution as the console versions and will run at 60fps. It will be released via Steam.

Saturday - March 01, 2014

Dark Souls II - Interview @ The Guardian

by Couchpotato, 05:34

The Guardian has a new video were they interview Peter Serafinowicz on Dark Souls II.

WARNING: This Video Contains Strong Language

Best known for his appearances in Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Look Around you, actor and comedian Peter Serafinowicz will next be seen – or more accurately, heard – in forthcoming fantasy adventure game Dark Souls II. Here, the keen gamer discusses his role as mysterious character Pate, and his love for what many regard as the hardest video game on the planet

Wednesday - February 26, 2014

Dark Souls II - Two More Videos

by Couchpotato, 04:17

As Lemonhead said in the last news-bit the hype is strong with this one. I have two more videos today for Dark Souls II. The first video is an unboxing of the Collector's Edition.

Check out this unboxing reveal video of the Dark Souls II Collector's Edition showcasing the exclusive perks and items included in this special edition release.

The second video is about the Making of Dark Souls II from IGN.

See how Darks Souls 2 devs refined the core Dark Souls experience, from designing a new setting to rebuilding the game engine.

Tuesday - February 25, 2014

Dark Souls II - Developer Diary "Dark Intentions"

by Couchpotato, 06:03

From Software has a new Developer Diary video for Dark Souls II called Dark Intentions.

In the latest behind-the-scenes developer diary with From Software, Dark Souls 2 director Yui Tanamura offers a quick primer on the story, and actor Peter Serafinowicz discusses why he finds the series so compelling. Art director Daisuke Satake also discusses how he attempted to tell stories visually.

Sunday - February 23, 2014

Dark Souls II - Let's Play @ PlayStation Access

by Couchpotato, 04:54

Peter Serafinowicz partners with PlayStation Access to host a new Let's Play video for Dark Souls II. Also the usual spoiler warning must be give so watch at your own peril.

Hollie plays Dark Souls 2 with actor Peter Serafinowicz, a man with a 'healthy obsession' for the original game and who voices 'Mild-mannered Pate' in the sequel. Plus we've got some brand new Dark Souls 2 gameplay to go with it!

Thursday - February 20, 2014

Dark Souls II - Hollow Lullaby Trailer

by Couchpotato, 05:05

IGN has another trailer for Dark Souls II called Hollow Lullaby.

FromSoftware chronicles the journey from Dark Souls to Dark Souls II

Tuesday - February 18, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ GameZone

by Couchpotato, 05:38

Game Zone has a new article with a look at the character creation of Dark Souls II.

I’ve spent many hours of my life trudging through Lordran in my quest to rekindle the flame or become the new dark lord. Through several different characters and different builds, the end goal has always been the same. What’s also consistent is how fast I usually blow through the character creation process. Why? Well, it’s never been all that innovative, there were never that many options, and let’s face it – there's a good chance you'll spend the vast majority of the game hollow or in armor, which means you’ll never even see that pretty face you spent a half hour on.

Friday - February 14, 2014

Dark Souls II - Early Access Armour & Weapons

by Couchpotato, 03:26

Namco Bandai has sent out a new press release for Dark Souls II that contains information about a new Black Armour Weapons Pack.

NAMCO BANDAI GAMES EUROPE ENHANCES ITS LIMITED BLACK ARMOUR AND COLLECTOR’S EDITIONS WITH EARLY ACCESS TO BLACK ARMOUR WEAPONS PACK

PARIS, FRANCE – 12th February 2014 – Leading video game developer and publisher NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe S.A.S. announced today that fans who pre-order the DARK SOULS™ II Black Armour Edition or the DARK SOULS II Collector’s Edition will receive an exclusive voucher allowing players to unlock early use of weapons contained in the Black Armour Weapons Pack .  These inventory items will help players as they begin their journey to the sequel of what many critics and gamers call one of the most challenging experiences in video game history.  Coming in Europe and Australasia on March 14, 2014 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft and shorty after for PC. DARK SOULS II will top all fans’ expectations with two exclusive editions and never-before-seen challenges!

The DARK SOULS II Collector’s Edition will feature a premium quality Warrior Knight figurine, an exclusive hardbound art-book filled with stunning images coming out of the talented artists’ minds at FromSoftware and a sizable full-colour fabric map of the DARK SOULS II game world.

On top of this exclusive offer, survivors who pre-ordered the game will instantly have access to the Black Armour Edition. This Pre-Order offer contains a metal case, the game disc and the official game soundtrack.

To reward fans who pre-order the DARK SOULS II Black Armour Edition and DARK SOULS II Collector’s editions, FromSoftware has made 5 weapon packs available for early access at the beginning of the game. Discover the five set of items of the early access Weapons Pack:

Black Flamestone Dagger and Black Flamestone Parma – A dagger and shield encrusted in Black Flamestone both found in the Gutter at Black Gulch. Even though they are heavier than a normal dagger and shield, the Flamestone crystal’s unique properties make the dagger extremely sharp and give the shield high resistance to damage.

Yellow Quartz Long Sword and Yellow Quartz Shield – A straight sword and small shield hardened with yellow quartz both uncovered at the bottom of the Iron Keep. Even though these items can break easily due to their high level of corrosion, they are exceptionally light and their power to inflict damage has not declined.

Bound Hand Axe and Bound Wooden Shield – A brutal hand axe and shield found in the Undead Purgatory. Both items are wrapped in chains and thorns to cause additional bleeding on enemies. Both the axe and shield have diminished in overall slashing power but their ability to deliver pain has been deliberately increased.

Homunculus Mace and Homunculus Wooden Shield – A mace and shield with spherical protrusions found in Aldia’s Keep. Although heavier than normal maces and shields, the hard protrusions greatly increase the striking power of the mace as well as the shield’s defensive capabilities.

Transgressor’s Staff and Transgressor’s Leather Shield – A staff and leather shield entwined with an unknown and seemingly lackluster element; these items are found in the Dark Chasm of Old. They have become a catalyst for sorcery and hex and cause an effect known as Darkness.

The Black Armour Edition and its rewards are also included in the very exclusive Collector’s Edition! In order to guarantee one of these versions, customers will need to pre-order as they are limited!

Thursday - February 13, 2014

Dark Souls II - Screenshots & PC Release

by Couchpotato, 03:52

Digital Spy has some news from Producer Takeshi Miyazoe about the PC release date.

"It's tough to say," Miyazoe has now told Digital Spy. "We're still working on it at this point. I'm not going to say months. I hope it's weeks."

Miyazoe explained the delay is to work on PC specific features, such as key mapping and resolutions.

"The PC audience was an eye-opener for us," Miyazoe said, referring to the port of the original Dark Souls.

"We did do the PC port based on the fan petition and fan feedback. We were really happy for that, and we did our best to try and support the game as best as possible.

"But at the same time, we did realize the PC fan base and the PC audience really have high expectations for what a PC game should be. So for Dark Souls 2, we'll do our best to try and fulfill the basics of what the game should have."

Also All Games Beta has a bunch of new screenshots.

Thursday - February 06, 2014

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Strategy Informer

by Couchpotato, 00:51

Well no batch of news for Dark Souls II today just one preview from Strategy Informer.

I came away from Dark Souls 2 with the definite sense that this is a refinement rather than a radical change in direction. Which is absolutely fine of course, but if you remained unswayed by the original I doubt you'll be convinced anew, even with the grudging steps toward accessibility. The beginning of the game, aside from the new setting, feels very similar. Enemies are the same mix of vulnerable but offensively dangerous footsoldiers and the occasional elite, with the same tricks to avoid. This roster will almost certainly change as you travel to more exotic locations, but certainly for the first hour or so there's a feeling of deja vu in both level design and enemy placement as you inch your way through the opening areas, despite the slightly glossier and more colourful visuals. Will that matter to hardcore fans pining for another 100 hours or so of content? Probably not, but I'd wager that even for them the sense of wonder and excitement will be diminished a second time around.

Wednesday - February 05, 2014

Dark Souls II - Interview @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 00:13

PC Gamer interviews Dark Souls II  Co-Director Yui Tanimura to talk about covenants, curses, co-op gameplay, and storytelling.

PC Gamer: You’ve said that Dark Souls 2 will not be easier. However, it has a bigger budget than Dark Souls, so will be expected to sell more copies. How do you appeal to a wider audience without compromising the harsh difficulty the series is known for?

Tanimura: Dark Souls 2 will focus on streamlining the game play experience to more directly portray the pure essence of the Dark Souls experience. This includes elements such as the strong sense of achievement of overcoming the challenges in the game, and also the “loose” connections players have with other players in the online space. Our goal is to really focus on having players deeply immerse themselves into the world, and fully take on their roles within the game play experience.

PC Gamer: On the other hand, do you think there’s a danger you’ll overcompensate and make the game harder? For example, many people came away from your demo last year saying the Mirror Knight was too hard, and that enemy AI is generally smarter.

Tanimura: Our aim is not to develop a difficult game. Our aim is to tune the difficulty to a level for players to be able to overcome and sense the highest sense of accomplishment possible. With this, the AI will be tuned to react more naturally to the player actions, but at the same time, the player controls and motions will be more natural and fitting to the actions carried out. I hope players will continue to learn from their mistakes and carry out multiple trial and error to conquer the challenges that await, and defeat the enemies that stand in the way. We try to tune so that the games difficulty is not a result of the players reflexes or ability to effectively use the controller, but will be based more on the player’s ability to learn from mistakes and be flexible in strategizing, and paying attention to all that happens around them.

Tuesday - February 04, 2014

Dark Souls II - Preview Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:23

Here are a bunch of new previews from the last two weeks for Dark Souls II.

Warning: Some of the previews may spoil the first few hours of the game.

1. Gamespot
2. Destructoid
3. Computer and Videogames
4. PC World
5. US Gamer
6. Games Radar
7. Home.Bt
8. ShopTo
9. IGN
10.VG 24/7

Monday - February 03, 2014

Dark Souls II - Video Interview Roundup

by Couchpotato, 02:00

Here are three video interviews from this week for Dark Souls II.

PlayStation Access

Hollie chats with Namco Producer Tak Miyazoe about new features in Dark Souls 2, such as PvP, new classes, and how invasions work.

Game Trailers

BANDAI NAMCO talks Dark Souls II and shows off new gameplay footage!

Giant Bomb

Bandai Namco's Brian Hong tells us whatever it is he knows about the new RPG .

And as a bonus a site called EMGN has news of a possible PC release date.

Amazon US has listed Dark Souls 2 for pre-order with a tentative release date of May 31, 2014. Only the digital standard version of the game is currently listed for pre-order(PC Steam keys)priced at $59,99 with the Collector’s Edition and Black Armour Edition yet to be seen.

Two things to be cautious of with this listing, May 31st is a Saturday which would be a very unusual release day for a game. Along with this, the release day is right at the end of the month, which is normally set when a retailer is not entirely sure of the release date but predicts it will be around that time.

Friday - January 31, 2014

Dark Souls II - Yes Another News Roundup

by Couchpotato, 01:27

More news today for Dark Souls II , and yet still no word on the PC release. Lets get started. Up first Namco Bandai has a press release about a voice actor.

PARIS, FRANCE – 30th January 2014 – NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe S.A.S. is pleased to announce today that Peter Serafinowicz will lend his voice to a brand new character in  DARK SOULS IIDARK SOULS II is still scheduled to launch in Europe and Australasia on March 14, 2014 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft.  DARK SOULS II for PCs will launch in Europe and Australasia shortly after in 2014. 

Peter Serafinowicz amazing work includes his well-known dubbing as the voice of Darth Maul in  Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, but that’s not it. Having more than one trick up his sleeve, he has appeared in a variety of excellent British and American comedies such as  Shaun of the DeadParks and Recreation and  South Park and will be part of the cast of this year awaited big movie  Guardians of the Galaxy. He also has a great experience in voice acting for video games like  Star Wars: Battlefront II or  Lego City Undercover.

In addition to being a very talented comedian, Peter Serafinowicz is a huge fan of  DARK SOULS. When asked about the game, Peter said “DARK SOULS is the most engrossing game I’ve ever played. For me, it’s the best game of all time”.  DARK SOULS lovers can be sure that with Peter’s excellent and unique career as an actor and his strong appeal for the game, he will be a great asset to the DARK SOULS II cast in order to bring you not only the most challenging game of this year, but also the most immersive experience the  DARK SOULS  franchise has ever offered to its survivors.

Peter will dub a new character named  Mild-mannered Pate. Players will encounter this mysterious man during his journey in search of treasure. He may teach players a few tricks of his own in order to survive during their quest. Will they dare to trust this enigmatic character?

Next Game Revolution has a new preview.

As far as can be told, Dark Souls II occurs somewhere after the original title, likely still in the now extended Age of Fire following the "good" ending of Dark Souls. Actually, the entire plot reminds me of the popular manga and anime Berserk, due to the main character Guts being branded with a dark curse and having to slaughter his way through legions of undead. All we know about The Cursed is that he is fated to lose his soul many, many times (literally) and that he symbolizes the idea that humanity is full of suffering.

And for last I have a video interview on Gamespot. Followed by a video from PlayStation Access showing how to defeat the Mirror Knight. Enjoy everyone.

Thursday - January 30, 2014

Dark Souls II - News Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:51

Eurogamer has a new preview about how undead players can still be invaded.

Dark Souls 2 is going to change one of the cardinal rules in From's Souls series: undead players will be susceptible to invasion.

For the uninitiated, Demon's & Dark Souls players typically spend 95 per cent of their play time as a dead person. Achieving a "human form" is a sort of special power-up that requires rare items or other infrequent criteria to be met. Being human makes you more powerful and able to summon other players, but it also makes you susceptible to being invaded by other players set on slaying you. Thus it's always been a method of making people feel uneasy after victory, but the PvP angle could largely be ignored if you'd rather not bother.

Despite this crucial shift there are new systems in place so players aren't constantly getting griefed by pros looking for fresh blood to spill. "Before, the matchmaking was based upon player level," Namco Bandai producer Takeshi Miyazoe explained in an interview with OPM. "That will remain, but we also want to focus on how much time you've played the game. Also, there will be penalties for players who invade, but still lose. There are risks. And there will be 'policemen' against invaders and a ransom system where if you constantly invade or kill NPCs there will be motivation for summoned players to go after you."

The Official Playstation Magazine has a new interview with Tanimura & Shibuya.

“Our main intent is not to foster a greater frequency of multiplayer, but more to give players the opportunity to interact even within the ‘loose’ parameters allowed,” From Software’s Yui Tanimura, Dark Souls 2 co-director (along with Tomohiro Shibuya), tells OPM. The franchise has always made innovative use of online features – and then evolved them for future titles. In Demon’s Souls, players could choose to leave messages with hints for the road ahead. In Dark Souls, players who used Humanity to take on a living form could be invaded via PvP or summon some additional help, and in Dark Souls 2 a new server-based network will bear the load as even players in a Hollow (undead) state are vulnerable to invasion from other human adventurers.

I aslo have a new video showing more gameplay footage.

Monday - January 27, 2014

Dark Souls II - Random News Roundup

by Couchpotato, 04:24

I managed to round-up a few articles for Dark Souls II. Some of them might be of interest, and others might not. So here we go.

Up first IncGamers has news the Dark Souls 2 Collectors Edition is sold out.

Warning to anyone still wanting to pick up the Dark Souls 2 Collectors Edition: Namco Bandai have informed us that it’s pretty much out of stock, so if you still want to get a pre-order in, you’ll have to hunt around and have a lot of luck. It might still be possible to get your hands on it without resorting to eBay, but don’t get your hopes up – and I’m not sure how long the Black Armour edition will remain in stock, either.

Next you can now pre-order the Dark Souls II Strategy Guide on Amazon.

Dark Souls is back and it's darker and more difficult than ever. This time death is certain. Every minute. The Dark Souls II Collector's Edition Guide is here to light a path through the darkness and to help free players from their wicked curse.

Also Lightning Gaming News has screenshots of the fan designed shields.

Do you remember the contest initiated by From Software that allowed fans to design their own shield for Dark Souls II? Take a look at the screenshots below to see how they look in-game. The first one shown below is called “Wicked Eye Greatshield”; it seems to be a tower shield, which is covered with numerous mysterious hand prints. The second shield is called “Great Shield of Raven Goddess” and displays an embossed raven/crow-like creature .

And for last Pixel Judge has more information from the Japanese site.

Thanks to this translated image from the Dark Souls 2 site, fans can have a bit more insight to the workings of the upcoming sequel. Not a great load of new info, but plenty of character backstory and some good information about 4 of the covenants.

Saturday - January 25, 2014

Dark Souls II - Site Translation @ IncGamers

by Couchpotato, 00:13

IncGamers has some new information from a fan based translation of the Japanese site.

Namco Bandai added a whole load of new stuff to the Japanese language Dark Souls 2 site recently, but that’s not entirely useful for those of us not blessed with the skill to read Japanese. Luckily, helpful Reddit user “firexq” (from a long, venerable line of firexq’s) has put their language skills to great use and provided a full translation.

Some of it goes over ground that’s been previously detailed, be it in the recent trailer, screenshot extravaganza, or summary of the Dark Souls 2 covenants, but it’s good to have confirmation of some of these bits of information. I’m just happy I know how to spell Drangleic now, since that’s the setting for the sequel and all.

One item which doesn’t appear to have been mentioned previously, but is here, is the ‘Soul Vessel.’ The translated description says “A vessel where one can entrust souls by draining them from the body. If one wishes to redo every[th]ing, he should try emptying his souls into the vessel.” which, ooh, is ripe for speculation.

Is this a re-speccing tool for you to reassign souls to your stats? Or a storage device of some kind (that seems contrary to the spirit of the series, so perhaps not)? Maybe it’s referring to the Lord Vessel from the original title.

Friday - January 24, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ EDGE

by Couchpotato, 00:27

EDGE has a new article for Dark Souls II thats talks about FromSoftware’s quest to create the last great adventure of last generation.

Ever since co-director Yui Tanimura was quoted using the word ‘accessible’ in relation to this new entry in the dark fantasy Souls series, the teams at developer FromSoftware and publisher Namco Bandai seem to have taken great pride in proving that Dark Souls II will be every bit as pad-shatteringly difficult as Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.

No one wants Dark Souls II to be easy. The trial-by-fire nature of these adventures is what makes them memorable. Errors are greeted with death, and you quickly learn not to make the same mistake twice. But those systems could be better expressed. Short, clipped dialogue boxes did a terrible job of explaining things in past games, and this is an area that FromSoftware will address in the sequel – to a degree.

Wednesday - January 22, 2014

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ Unigamesity

by Couchpotato, 04:13

Unigamesity has a new article that compares Dark Souls 2 graphics to Dark Souls.

Recently, I’ve analyzed the most recent batch of Dark Souls II screenshots released by Namco Bandai and I’ve concluded that the upcoming game will have inferior graphics, effects and detail quality. To prove this statement isn’t just an opinion, I decided to create a proper comparison between Dark Souls and Dark Souls II visuals. Note that all the following images presented weren’t edited or improved in any way.

Tuesday - January 21, 2014

Dark Souls II - Most Anticipated Game@ OnlySP

by Couchpotato, 01:21

OnlySP adds Dark Souls II to the sites Most Anticipated Games for 2014.

Frustrated cries of defeat, snapped controllers and joyous victories; Dark Souls was responsible for all of these things but it still remains one of the most rewarding and endlessly replayable games of the last generation. The game decided to break away from tradition by rarely holding your hand and thrusting you into a world full of minimalist lore and twisted monsters out for your blood. Now the series returns with Dark Souls 2 but this time without the original’s director and what many fear is a more casual experience. Yet still, hopes are high that the sequel will deliver a satisfying experience that will leave you in tears of jubilation and anger. Prepare to die…again.

Saturday - January 18, 2014

Dark Souls II - New Screenshots & Character Art

by Couchpotato, 01:21

Hardcore Gamer has some new screenshots and character art for Dark Souls II.

New Dark Souls II assets just keep coming. Whether it’s screenshots or trailers or even more screenshots, the hardcore dungeon crawling train stops for nobody. Today brings with it quite a few new screen shots and character art, showing off high-res shots of the game’s various characters and new looks at some of the game’s action pieces, dialogues (albeit in Japanese) and environments.

Friday - January 17, 2014

Dark Souls II - Preview @ RPGamer

by Couchpotato, 01:15

RPGamer writer Alex Fuller has penned a new preview for of Dark Souls II.

Story-wise, the game appears to be heading closer towards the themes and involvement style of Demon's Souls. It is concentrated on the main character suffering from an agonising curse, and attempting to find a cure. There is stated to be a indirect connection between the story in Dark Souls II and its predecessor, along with the inclusion of concepts around time, but outside of this there are few details so far. Players can likely expect the story to take on a similar role to the rest of the series, setting a great atmosphere but mostly helping to augment the tough gameplay rather that being at the forefront.

Thursday - January 16, 2014

Dark Souls II - Interview & New Trailer

by Couchpotato, 03:07

EDGE interviews Yui Tanimura the Co-director of Dark Souls II.

The PC version of the first Dark Souls wasn’t a good port. How did that make the team feel, and what are you doing to ensure that the PC iteration is better this time around?

We understand and accept a lot of the feedback we have received from fans around the world who have played the PC version. We first decided to port over to the PC platform as a result of the petition signed by players around the world. And with our goal to release a PC version as soon as possible, it was a decision to simply port the experience over in the shortest amount of time possible. For the PC version of Dark Souls II, the game development will be based on the PC – we will make sure that the main PC game features are supported and also do our best to attend to a lot of the user feedback that we have received.

I also have a new trailer from Namco-Bandai.

Still considering to go beyond death? Watch this new trailer for a sneak peek of the mysteries and monsters you'll face in Dark Souls II. In the tormented kingdom of Drangleic, a cure to the Curse awaits to be found and countless deaths awaits to be endured.

Thursday - January 09, 2014

Dark Souls II - Comic Released

by Couchpotato, 00:24

NAMCO BANDAI has a new press release with information the Dark Soul  II comic
Into the Light is now available.

DARK SOULSTM II COMIC DIGITAL PUBLICATION COMES INTO THE LIGHT

NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe S.A.S. is excited to celebrate 2014 and the upcoming release of DARK SOULSTM II with the digital publication of DARK SOULSTM II: Into the Light.

Based on the thrilling universe of Dark Souls II and written by Rob Williams and Andi Ewington with art provided by Simon Coleby, the first pages of DARK SOULSTM II: Into the Light comic are now available for free on http://bngames.eu/ds2comic. Two new pages will be revealed each week until the release of DARK SOULSTM II on March 14th.

Start reading DARK SOULSTM II: Into the Light now on http://bngames.eu/ds2comic

Friday - December 20, 2013

Dark Souls II - Interviews @ EDGE

by Couchpotato, 00:57

EDGE has three short articles for Dark Souls II. Enjoy and give feedback in the comment section. Links and a brief description of each article below.

Dark Souls II’s co-director Apologises for Saying the Game Would be “Accessible”

What of players who are daunted by Dark Souls’ difficulty? What would you say to them?

A main theme in all games developed by FromSoftware is to not fully explain all the elements of how to play and challenge players to figure it out for themselves. We would like to encourage players to conquer the elements they face by paying attention to the surroundings and also being creative in strategising [about] how to overcome the difficulties.

Dark Souls’ Producer says PC version Was Rushed, Problems “Were Expected”

“This is going to sound bad but our main priority was to get the game onto the PC as fast as possible, because people wanted it on the PC,” Miyazoe says. “The PC market in Japan is so minimal that originally there were no plans to make it on the PC, but with the strong petition from the North American and European fans, even with the lack of experience of working on a PC platform we still did our best to try to get it out as fast as possible. [The problems] were expected to a certain extent.

Dark Souls II – "All Hail The Last Great Adventure of a Generation"

And while 2014′s release schedule is full of tantalising prospects on new consoles, the year’s first surefire success is Dark Souls II. In E262′s eight-page cover feature we visit FromSoftware’s offices in Japan for a look at how, with that March date rapidly approaching, the game is shaping up. Co-director Yu Tanimura and producer Takeshi Miyazoe detail the expanded Covenant system, explain the greater focus on network play, and discuss the difficulties in balancing a game that’s as punishing as they get, but always feels fair.

Thursday - December 19, 2013

Dark Souls II - Live Action Teaser

by Couchpotato, 18:18

 From Software released a new live action trailer for Dark Souls II.


Wednesday - December 18, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Cheat Code Central

by Couchpotato, 20:40

Cheat Code Central has a new preview of Dark Souls II.

Dark Souls II looks like it's taking the formula that made Dark Souls popular, refining it and making it easier to get into, then hitting players with greater challenges than ever before. With an improved online system, a prettier coat of paint, new nasties to overcome, and the addition of the theme of time to the existing themes of solitude and suffering, From Software might have another hit on its hands. Here's to a company being willing to go its own way, bucking current gaming trends and giving challenge-seeking gamers something to sink their teeth into.

Tuesday - December 17, 2013

Dark Souls II - Editorial @ Redbull

by Couchpotato, 21:53

A site called Redbull has a new article for Dark Souls 2 about the curse of sequels.

A lonely knight stands on a hilltop overlooking a desolate castle with an ancient, crumbling viaduct leading over the moat.

He is seen praying to his god before he vanquishes his enemies. One by one he smites them, striking them down with sword and bow - until one hunchbacked giant punches him through a pillar as if he were a toy, and crushes him with his hammer. End.

Believe it or not, this isn’t The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. This is Dark Souls 2, the upcoming sequel to one of this console generation’s most celebrated sleeper hits, a brutal fantasy adventure game from developer From Software and published by Namco-Bandai that pits you against the terrifying denizens of a tormented planescape singlehanded.

It’s also possibly the only game that can advertise itself by showing your protagonist being obliterated over and over and over in trailers. And it’s certainly the only game that can prompt a fan backlash at the mere rumor of an Easy mode being added, something that caused an outcry online late last year.

Saturday - November 16, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ EDGE

by Couchpotato, 03:52

EDGE has posted another preview of Dark Souls 2  saying, "Prepare to die, die, and die again in FromSoftware’s expanded sequel." Here is the link.

By the time you read this the Dark Souls II network test beta will be underway, placing participants in a wooded location called Huntsman’s Copse. New details from September’s Tokyo Game Show reveal that it will contain six pre-built characters: Warrior, Soldier, Sorcerer, Temple Knight, Dual Swordsman and Hunter. Your chosen starting character class in Dark Souls was a fairly meaningless distinction given the game’s wide-open levelling flexibility, and From has no plans to change course in the sequel. “We feel that binding players to a character class chosen at the beginning takes away from the freedom of gameplay and goes against our game creation concepts,” Tanimura says.

Another key change involves the lack of immunity to having your game world invaded by other players when in a hollow (undead) state. In Dark Souls, players could avoid intrusion by other players by simply not restoring their human form at bonfires. No longer: if the idea of another player bursting into your world and hunting you down like a piece of quarry makes you squeamish, you’d best be prepared to sever your Ethernet cable. With Dark Souls II moving to dedicated servers, it’s as if From simply wants to showcase the seamlessness of its improved online experience – whether you want it showcased to you or not.

In case you were still concerned about everything in this sequel being streamlined to eliminate friction, it’s clear the game still wants to make you mutter and curse and fume – just like the bad old days that Souls players love pining after. For those keeping score at home, Tanimura says the team is “approximately 70 per cent complete in the development process”. Not long to go now.

Friday - November 15, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ JumpToGamer

by Couchpotato, 04:29

JumpToGamer posted a new preview of Dark Souls II based on the games beta.

Overall, I think the test shows that this could be the strongest showing in the Souls series. It has everything that made the other games great, while coming to the table with enough improvements and tweaks to make it stand out. I had absolutely no invasions or PvP attempts, so I cannot comment on any differences from the past titles. If the difficulty lays between the two presented in the beta I think most players will be happy, but as long as the development team gives us a challenge and a reason to keep picking up the controller death after death, I will.

Monday - November 11, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Gameranx

by Couchpotato, 00:32

Gameranx has a short preview of Dark Souls II focusing on the faces of the games characters. They even share a few screenshots to prove their opinion.

Dark Souls may have been a much loved game for its extraordinarily brutal gameplay and fantastic setting, but no one loved it for the faces of its characters, who looked every bit as bad as the ones in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion—which is to say they looked like potatoes with facial features.

Those much (and in our opinion deservedly) maligned faces will not be making a return in Dark Souls 2, which has an overhauled character creation tool that's capable of creating good looking characters, for once.

Tuesday - November 05, 2013

Dark Souls II - International Press Video

by Couchpotato, 00:28

Namco Bandai has released a new video for Dark Souls II from their annual grand Rendezvous at their Headquarters in Tokyo.

Every year, Namco Bandai Games holds an annual grand Rendezvous in its Headquarters in Tokyo. This year, Media from all over the world had the chance to take on Dark Souls II, one of our most awaited games. Watch the painful (yet entertaining) deaths, enhanced hardcore gaming, immersive gameplay experience along with comments from specialized journalists.

Monday - November 04, 2013

Dark Souls II - Wish List@ ArcadeSushi

by Couchpotato, 00:53

ArcadeSushi has a new wishlist article with ten things they want in Dark Souls II. Now do you agree with them, or do want something different?

Like the original Dark Souls, prepare to cuddle up to your pillow and cry desperately at your own inadequacy. Dark Souls II is on its way to break your gaming spirit and trample all your hopes and dreams. We loved the original Dark Souls and Dark Souls II is shaping up to to be a polished and refined version. It may be masochistic, but we can’t help but wish for so much with this sequel. This is our Dark Souls II Wish List.

Friday - November 01, 2013

Dark Souls II - Interview @ Levelsave

by Couchpotato, 03:22

Levelsave interviews Namco Bandais Community Manager  J. Kartje about Dark Souls II.

Those worried that Dark Souls II was going to be an easy affair, fret not because From Software has brought back one of the most challenging aspects of Demon’s Souls. When you die you don’t come back with full health but with a 25% decrease in your health bar, this percentage will actually double each time you die so if your not careful and don’t recover your soul, you’ll be in a heap of trouble before you can blink.

After playing through the demo I was able to snag an interview with J. Kartje, Community Manager for Namco Bandai America and overall cool dude, where we got to talk about the upcoming release.

Saturday - October 26, 2013

Dark Souls II - Impression Video @ GameTrailers

by Couchpotato, 01:04

GameTrailers has posted a new impression video based on the beta of Dark Souls II.

GT's regular soul-cyclops got a flutter in his gut, but did the beta bring fear or cheer?

Friday - October 25, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ US Gamer

by Couchpotato, 00:11

USgamer the american version of Eurogamer has a new preview for Dark Souls II.

Even though I only had the chance to see one possible use of Dark Souls II's multiplayer, just how easy it is to join or pull in other players -- based on my experience with the single-server Demon's Souls -- will hopefully make for some interesting scenarios. The first Dark Souls certainly attempted to broaden the possibilities of multiplayer with the covenant system, but the anemic peer-to-peer network setup made all but a few of the options completely unviable. Based on what I saw in the beta, From has thought a little harder about the opportunities a readily available pool of players can bring.  

There's no denying, though, that Dark Souls II feels a bit different than the past two games. It features some head-slappingly obvious improvements, like allowing you to jump with a simple click of L3 instead of the completely unintuitive method from the last game, and sorting your vast inventory into different item categories, rather than a long and cumbersome list. But combat feels a little mushier, as enemies and yourself take a little more effort to kill, rather than a few quick slashes -- though this could just be how the pre-built beta characters were meant to play. And despite their history with the platform, From still hasn't gotten that whole "frame rate" thing figured out; Huntsman's Copse doesn't turn into a Blight Town-esque slide show, but it's jittery enough to be slightly annoying. Like Dark Souls before it, Dark Souls II will no doubt see some major improvements when the PC version arrives a bit later.  

Assessing a game based on a random two-hour slice is like trying to determine if a book will win a Pulitzer after reading only a single chapter. That said, after playing 200 hours of Dark Souls, and 100 of Demon's Souls, my all-too-brief session with the Dark Souls II beta had me running around like the panicked idiot I was during the early stages of the past two installments. While I can't say if the area offered in the beta is representative of the challenge found in the rest of the game, From Software still seems to understand the essential elements of the Souls series' rewarding uphill climb.  

Tuesday - October 22, 2013

Dark Souls II - Two More Previews

by Couchpotato, 00:29

I have two more previews for Dark Souls II. So if your still interested in reading more about the game give them a look if you want.

Awesomegames - "Hello, Mirror"

Dark Souls was a good looking game, for sure, but its technical ambition often gave way to occasional framerate issues (the already nasty Blighttown became infamous for its horrendous frame drops). Dark Souls II is, from what I saw, one of the best looking current-gen titles I’ve seen. In fact, it looks just as good as many of the games hitting the next line of systems. Lighting and weather effects were unbelievably good, and the game’s physics also seem to have improved substantially. My only concern is how much the added graphical fidelity will affect the game’s performance. The section I played ran smooth enough, but only time will tell if we’ll be getting another Blighttown. Let’s hope not!

Cheatcc- "There’s No Preparing for This"

No victory in the beta came easy, even for a Dark Souls club member such as myself. The developers at From Software know their fans, and in the beta, they demonstrated the steps they’re taking to challenge even the most die-hard of them. The changes to the battle mechanics, the re-introduction of easy-to-find healing items, and the emphasis on forcing players into PVP show a lot of promise. The result of that promise may be far from clear, but just like when playing a Souls game, I have a feeling something big is right around the corner.

Sunday - October 20, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ GamingNexus

by Couchpotato, 02:11

GamingNexus has the next preview of Dark Souls II if your not tired of all the news in the last two weeks.

Dark Souls II is exactly what I was expecting, more Dark Souls. If the beta is any indication, gamers that loved the first game (as well as Demon's Souls) will no doubt eat this sequel up, while everybody else wonders why somebody would put up with the punishment. Regardless of whether or not Dark Souls II changes anybody's mind, I had a great time being killed repeatedly and can't wait to try it again. Maybe next time I'll be able to dig deeper into the Undead Purgatory.

Thursday - October 17, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ IGN

by Couchpotato, 00:34

IGN has a new preview of Dark Souls II based on the games beta with details about the  changes from previous games.

One notable change to the physics engine which may split opinion is that the game no longer has ragdoll effects on corpses. Although some people may miss this, I am personally glad it has been removed. I don’t necessarily want to play a comical game of keepie-uppie with every flailing corpse I happen to toe-kick.

The UI in Dark Souls II is much slicker than its predecessor too, with clearer menus which hint at the increased accessibility the game's director Yui Tanimura has implied he will implement. Outside of combat, the on-screen display will now minimise to offer a less obscured view of the game's impressive vistas.

The combat mechanics have changed, lending Dark Souls II's fighting a different pace and feel from its predecessor. The temple knight now has offensive faith magic in addition to his more familiar buff and healing spells. His Dark Orb spell allowed him to attack enemies over distance with the use of a magic sceptre. The sorcerer class employed a mix of pyromancy and soul magic, since the pyromancer class has now been retired. The most impressive of the new spells was his Soul Greatsword, a huge blade of light that proved particularly useful when attacking the Copse's assassin mobs.

The finicky lock-on system has been improved, for instance. When retreating from an opponent, you can now turn heel rather than slowly backpedal, keeping an eye on your opponent. Trees and foliage in the way now become transparent. The warrior's zweihander, while difficult to get used to, is extremely satisfying to use, particularly on the Copse's disgustingly bloated, sickle-wielding butchers.

Wednesday - October 16, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:40

I managed to roundup three more previews for Dark Souls II for a new roundup.

Gamefront- "Yeah, This Game Is Still Really Hard"

While it’s still a stinging disappointment that we won’t see Dark Souls 2 until March of next year, From Software at least softened the blow by giving a lucky group of gamers access to a nearly three-hour-long beta test that ran last Saturday. I managed to log a little more than two hours in the beta, and after getting skewered, stabbed, sliced, pounded and trampled — often repeatedly — the only thought on my mind was: “I want more.”

Destructoid - "Dark Souls II Feels Slightly Easier, but Still on Point"

I have some concerns about Dark Souls II, but overall I had an amazing time, and I really wanted to dive in again after the short beta period ended. While I'm not certain that it can live up to the expectations of the first two games based on my play session, those are some pretty big shoes to fill -- and I have little doubt that it'll be anything less than worthy of calling itself a Souls game.

RPGFan - "Closed Beta Hands-On Preview"

What I got to see shows a developer on the road to greatness, but there are always pitfalls along the way. The framerate continues to be an issue for From Software, as DSII runs butter-smooth one minute and then rocky the next (mostly with online buddies thrown into the mix). It's not nearly as bad as Blighttown, thank God, but it does give me pause when I consider buying the game on a console. The best news I can give is that the rhythm and atmosphere of the previous games seems intact, and I was nervous in the best possible way. Mr. Sickles left a lasting impression on me, especially when his twin brother showed up! We have a ways to go before release, but I'm certainly intrigued and excited as hell to return to this land and die all over again.

 

Tuesday - October 15, 2013

Dark Souls II - Interview @ PressPlay

by Couchpotato, 00:22

PressPlay  has a new video interview for Dark Souls II from the the NY Comic Con 2013.

Nick talks to J. Kartje about Dark Souls II's new enemies, online and systems. Stick around to hear J's number one tip for players planning on getting the game!

Monday - October 14, 2013

Dark Souls II - Beta Impression @ AnalogAddiction

by Couchpotato, 01:32

 Analog Addiction gives their impression of Dark Souls II based on a recent demo version of the game.

One thing which I found annoying was the fact that I couldn’t summon other players in my world, nor invade them. Every time someone would try to come into my session, an error would appear on the screen. Why would the developer enforce a two-hours limit, if it wouldn’t even allow players to actually battle together? Another quirk was the AI, which sometimes was simply standing still while I was depleting its life. It’s still a Beta, so it’s to be expected I guess.

As mentioned above, what does seem like a massive improvement are the visuals. Dark Souls II’s world and its inhabitants are much more detailed than its predecessor’s. The soundtrack was kept to a minimum though, only to make for a more chilling atmosphere.

All in all, after almost breaking into tears multiple times during my playthroughs in the first Dark Souls, I have to admit that I enjoyed this small Beta for its sequel. Sure, there wasn’t anything really new here – besides its presentation – but I’m sure that I’ve only scratched the surface of what Dark Souls II really has to offer. The next Beta will take place on October 27th, so expect another coverage of it the moment it ends. You can check out some gameplay from the first Beta below.

Here is the gameplay video.

Friday - October 11, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ StickTwiddlers

by Couchpotato, 00:46

StickTwiddlers has posted a hands-on preview of Dark Souls II from the Eurogamer Expo.

One of the more heartwarming sights I saw whilst visiting the Eurogamer Expo recently in London was scores of people all queuing up to have untold digital punishment upon them and eventually die in horrible ways. Occasionally one of the more fortunate souls would claw their way through the dirt and mire to achieve victory. These were either the exceptionally lucky, gifted, blessed, whatever you want to call them. These people faced the Mirror Knight in Dark Souls II, and survived.

Tuesday - October 08, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Capsule Computers

by Couchpotato, 00:29

Capsule Computers has posted a hands-on preview of Dark Souls II based on a demo from the EB Games Expo.

Gameplay-wise, Dark Souls II takes a lot from its predecessors. The series has definitely maintained a “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” approach to its controls, and as such I was immediately familiar with the button layout and how to maneuver my wayward character. Everything has carried over from Demons/Dark Souls and long-time fans of the series will love this as they can get straight into the business of dying over and over again. It is also great that the controls have stayed the same through the series, as they are really intuitive and easy to grasp (leading credence to the old saying of ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’).

Sunday - October 06, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

by Couchpotato, 00:55

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a new hands-on preview of Dark Souls II. So if your not yet burned out by the previews, leaks, and other interviews this week give it a look.

Dark Souls II is a strange game to preview. The way I put it to Jim was, if you’re vaguely interested in the Souls games it looks like more of the same – but if you’re obsessed with the Souls games, and that’s me for sure, then it feels like everything’s changed. The tiniest thing, like a slower Estus-chugging animation, feels like a major tonal shift; and in thinking that, you wonder if you’re a crazy man.

Does this feel as nice as Dark Souls? Because of that slower pace to combat and the other reasons above, frankly no. But that’s because it’s unfamiliar, a small demo area, and I’ve put hundreds of hours into Dark Souls; by rights I should be in the loony bin when it comes to this series. If I’m wrong, great. And if I’m right? Well then, by my lights Dark Souls II will only be the third-best game of all time.

A terrible fate, indeed.

Wednesday - October 02, 2013

Dark Souls II - Beta Impression & Reddit Info

by Couchpotato, 00:46

If your still curious and need more information after the beta video links you can vist the wiki page of Demon Souls for beta impressions.

HERE WE GO! (There will be constant editing and additional info as I notice more and more info on my recording.)

Ok my hour with the beta is up for now, hopefully I can get into the 2 and 3 hour one as well. Lots to talk about and review so I will start with this. The game feels MUCH darker and back to its horror roots. The environment (At least the one I played) and the enemy sounds coupled with the atmosphere and we have a much more wicked dark souls, plain and simple. BTW I LOVED it! The lighting is great especially in darker environments and using a torch feels like the best thing in the world in all that darkness, even the areas that are not so dark feel better. Overall fantastic atmosphere right out of the start, btw ENB was correct, Demons souls esq reference with the merchant character.

You can also check out reddit for a nice list of game details.

Tuesday - October 01, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview & Beta Videos

by Couchpotato, 00:07

GamrReview previews Dark Souls II and says the game is even tougher than Dark Souls.

The final boss was called Mirror Knight. Defeating him involved dodging/blocking his melee attacks and dodging his ranged lightning attack, and dealing enormous amounts of damage. I’m not sure what was particularly mirror-like about him, but it may well have made him easier to defeat if I'd known, so it looks like some research may well be required before fighting bosses in the full game.

Rest assured, however, that this game follows the “challenging but fair” mantra every bit as much as its predecessors, so fans of the series have a lot to look forward to when it launches.

The game also has two new videos leaked from a Japanese tester that can be watched  here, and here.

Monday - September 30, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Twinfinite

by Couchpotato, 00:24

Twinfinite has posted a new preview of Dark Souls II based off it's showing at the Eurogamer Expo 2013.

As I sprinted at breakneck speeds across the convention floor to the Dark Souls II booth, tackling passersby and hurdling over children, I realised I was just as nervous as I was excited. I think that’s a shared feeling among a lot of Dark Souls fans regarding its sequel; the original being such a finely tuned balance of so many elements that a continuation of it might rock the boat. With the added scares of Hidetaka Miyazaki saying “sayonara” to the series and murmurs of the publishers wanting to ‘widen the audience’, many are concerned there are forces at work trying to Skyrim-ify the series, so it was with trembling hands that I picked up the controller and jumped back into that dark, horrible world I could never live without.

Sunday - September 29, 2013

Dark Souls II - Impression @ Siliconera

by Couchpotato, 00:43

Siliconera offers a look at Dark Souls 2 after playing the Beta for one hour.

As my session with the Dark Souls II beta began, I was filled with a sense of dread. Not because of any dangerous enemy or grisly sight ahead of me, but because before this session I’d never played Dark Souls.

Only having heard tell of how brutal the game could be, I looked at the class selection screen carefully (which was just a partial selection available for the demo). I saw Dual-Swordsmen, Archers, Paladins, Mages, and every single one looked like they’d have a pretty steep learning curve. I eventually settled on a sword and shield-wielding warrior and started the game.

Read this link for the detailed descrption of his gameplay.

Saturday - September 28, 2013

Dark Souls II - Gameplay Video

by Couchpotato, 00:28

DualShockers has news of a new gameplay video showing the boss battle against the Mirror Knight, and more from Eurogamer 2013.

If you want to see more of the upcoming Dark Souls II, that will hit the shelves next March, we got you covered.

Directly from the show floor of Eurogamer Expo a new video has surfaced, courtesy of YouTube user Mantrousse, that recorded a couple of minutes of gameplay off the screen of a demo station, showing the fight against a boss named Mirror Mnight and more.

Of course the video ends with the player’s untimely death. It’s Dark Souls after all.

Thursday - September 26, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Gameranx

by Couchpotato, 00:13

Gameranx posted a preview of Dark Souls II that calls the game harder, with more emphasis on PvP, and Co-Op gameplay.

In World of Warcraft and other RPGs, being dead means being unable to interact with the world, with a one way ticket back to your corpse and back to the land of the living. It goes without saying that in most games, giving up your humanity in order to wander throughout the world as an undead being is the equivalent of a game over state.

This is not the case with Dark Souls, where being bereft of your humanity is the only way to ensure you aren't invaded by other players. You see, players can't invade your world while you're undead so short of disconnecting your PS3 from the internet, being undead isn't a bad way to be. This is changing in Dark Souls 2, a game with far more emphasis on multiplayer interaction.

As a bonus Joystiq also has a small article about the game keeping Havok physics.

 

Tuesday - September 24, 2013

Dark Souls II - TGS 2013 Gameplay Video

by Couchpotato, 00:39

A new off screen gameplay video of the demo of Dark Souls II from TGS 2013 has been leaked. The usual warnings apply here as the video is not an official HD release.


Sunday - September 22, 2013

Dark Souls II - Beta Impression @ GameZone

by Couchpotato, 00:06

GameZone  gives their impression of the beta build of Dark Souls II. You can read the article or watch the video. It's your choice.

Dark Souls 2 Beta hands-on impressions from EpicNameBro at NamcoBandai's pre-TGS 2013 press event. You can go ahead and get hyped up now.

Saturday - September 21, 2013

Dark Souls II - News Roundup #2

by Couchpotato, 00:30

I have a continuation of the news roundup from yesterday, and it will only be four more previews so it wont be as lengthy. Lets get started.

1. Gameranx - "Timed Co-Op, Greater Penalties for Death"

2. Destructoid - "Happily dying often in the Dark Souls II Beta"

3. EGM - "The Changing World of Dark Souls II"

4. Gamespot - "From Software details new Dark Souls II features"

Also IGN has a new impression video you may want to watch.

Friday - September 20, 2013

Dark Souls II - News Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:53

The following news-bit  for Dark Souls II is going to be lengthy. I'm going to try and keep it short so lets get started.

Up first Namco Bandai announces a release date for the console editions of Dark Souls II saying the ARPG sequel will be released on March 11, 2014. The PC release will come later with no date set yet. You can find a new trailer here to go with this news.

Next WorldsFactory interviews Yui Tanimura.

Thanks to Namco Bandai, we have the opportunity to publish a Dark Souls 2 interview. Our questions were kindly answered by Yui Tanimura at From Software, who’s currently working on Dark Souls 2 as Director. Please enjoy!

And for last I have five new previews released today. I'm just going to list the sites to save time and space.

1. Polygon-  "How Dark Souls 2 will make life even harder"

2. Game Informer - "Surviving In From Software's More Wicked World"

3. US Gamer - "Dying Sucks More Than Ever in Dark Souls II"

4. CVG -  "Dark Souls 2 Remains Morbid at Heart"

5. Kotaku - "Dark Souls 2 Owes Me No Favors, And I Respect That"

Friday - September 13, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ OXM

by Couchpotato, 01:25

OXM posted a preview of Dark Souls II were Namco talks about the games new online covenant, and invasion system.

Since Dark Souls came on the scene, there's been a glut of games that try their hands at asynchronous, embedded sharing and match-making strategies, the idea being that you won't have to push back from the world and its supporting fictions in order to play with others. Does From Software feel obliged to trump its earlier work, in order to stay ahead of the imitators?

"It's not something where we feel we have to," Miyazoe explained to us at Gamescom. "We feel there's a core element of the network online play that is unique to Dark Souls, and that the fans enjoy. The dev team really strives to avoid direct involvement with other players - I think there's a loose connection you have with other people.

"It's the sharing of emotions, the sharing of the loneliness with other people, so that you get that faint sense of comfort when you feel that another player's facing the same difficulties in the game, but without being able to have direct contact," he went on.

"Death is a big part of Dark Souls, but it's also the loneliness when you're facing the difficulties, you're that close to giving up, but you want to take that extra step, and having this loose connection with other players is one of the things that helps you to stride on."

Miyazoe was mum as to the specifics, as you'd expect/hope, but he was able to confirm a few returning features - player invasions and summoning, blood stains that display a ghost player's final few seconds of life, and the celebrated Covenants, divine or demonic allegiances that partly determine how you'll operate online. It's not clear whether any of the original's Covenants will return.

Wednesday - September 11, 2013

Dark Souls II - Interview @ VG 24/7

by Couchpotato, 01:25

VG 24/7 has a new article style interview of Dark Souls II that calls the game a lesson in painfully balanced gameplay.

If you read this site often you’ll know I’m nuts about Dark Souls. I blog about it often. Like, a lot. I even got an Ornstein and Smough tattoo after completing it, but even I’ve become curious as to just how From Software is going to advance its perfect storm of mechanics and design philosophies in a way that appeases die-hard fans. I don’t envy the studio right now.

Of course, there was the power-keg of criticism that erupted as soon as co-directors Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura said Dark Souls 2 was more “understandable” than its predecessors. The fact is these guys aren’t stupid, and there’s no way this game will coddle players explicitly throughout the experience. To do that would be to scrap the superb blend of challenge, risk and gratification that forms the series’ heart.

I recently had a chat with Namco Bandai’s Takeshi Miyazoe about this very issue and I wanted to first touch upon the notion of ambiguity in the series. After all, each ‘Souls’ title has left world lore and the motivation of their cast largely to the player’s imagination, whereas other games seek to spell out the fine details in plain sight. All we know at this point of Dark Souls 2 is that the main player is cursed, so sets off into the world in search of a cure.

Saturday - September 07, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ VG 24/7

by Couchpotato, 01:20

VG 24/7 has posted a new preview of Dark Souls 2 with the topic based on enemy bosses.

Speaking with VG247′s Dave Cook in an interview to be published Tuesday next week, developer Takeshi Miyazoe said the team is still balancing the game, and while players can expect challenging bosses similar to Ornstein and Smough, these brutes may not appear at the very start of a venue.

“As much as the development team is still balancing the game, I think there will be key moments in the game – not just challenges by story or difficulty – but there will be key enemies and bosses in the game that will challenge the players enough,” said Miyazoe. “There will be areas where we’re revisiting some of the boss battles as well, where you’ll be able to encounter boss battles part-way through the stage.

“You won’t have to start from one venue, go through to the end, beat the boss and then start from a new venue. There will be be areas where you can meet the boss halfway. If you’re good enough or paying enough attention, you might be able to defeat them early.

“We’re trying to create a more interactive gameplay flow so that we sort of break a little bit in terms of the traditional ‘start point, boss and then new start point’.”

Friday - September 06, 2013

Dark Souls II - No PC Beta Testing

by Couchpotato, 00:41

IncGamers has news of no Dark Souls 2 beta testing planned for the PC from Namco Bandai. This doesn't sound good to me, but we shall see.

With a pair of beta sessions planned for Dark Souls II on the PS3 (12 October and 27 October respectively,) we here at IncGamers wondered if there would be any sort of equivalent coming for the PC version of the game.

Unfortunately, the answer appears to be “nope.” A representative from Namco Bandai told us that there is “Nothing for the PC build at the moment I’m afraid. I’ll let you know if we get more news.”

That’s a bit of a shame, especially as the PC was said to be the “lead development platform” for Dark Souls II this time around. Still, as long as we get a version with proper resolution, graphics and control support this time, all should be well.

Tuesday - September 03, 2013

Dark Souls II - Gamescom 2013 Footage

by Couchpotato, 00:47

Namco Bandai has released a new trailer for Dark Souls 2 from the Gamescom 2013 Community.

 

Monday - September 02, 2013

Dark Souls II - Interview @ Dealspwn

by Couchpotato, 00:25

Dealspwn interviewed Tak Miyazoe the Global Producer for Namco Bandai to learn more Dark Souls II.

 

Friday - August 30, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ JumpToGamer

by Couchpotato, 00:39

JumpToGamer has poted a new preview for Dark Souls II.

The new Dark Souls 2 looks to of kept the same style that made the original such a cool game, but worked on a few things that have improved the game and seems to of made it a Hell of a lot more difficult – even more appealing.

Now I am not going to talk about the story (maybe minimal maybe not) or various missions, but I am going to talk about a few of the improvements. From Software have looked at the little things for example the way you climb and fight on stairs has improved, both are more fluid and less frustrating. Another improvement is the lighting, like in the original game you have dark areas that require lighting up and in Dark Souls 2 you have to make a choice; you can pick up a torch which replaces your shield, or you can run through the dark and hope for the best. The torch can be used as a weapon to good effect though, so there is a slight plus.

Sunday - August 25, 2013

Dark Souls II - Developer Q&A Video

by Couchpotato, 00:37

RPG Reporter has a new video Q&A for Dark Souls II.

It’s been a while since players have had some Dark Souls II info, so if you’re looking for new Dark Souls II info then your soul has come to the right place. A Q&A video interview from Namco at Gamescom with new director Yui Tanimura reveals their aims for Dark Souls II as well as some very interesting gameplay.

And as a bonus I have a video that goes behind the scenes of the teaser Forging a Hero.

In Dark Souls 2, fearless adventurers will don the armour of a new hero.
He is a man alone and never more than a sword's edge away from death.
To bring the enigmatic hero to life, we asked armour specialists Armedia to recreate his armour...

Thursday - August 15, 2013

Dark Souls II - Forges a Hero Trailer

by Couchpotato, 01:00

Namco Bandai has released a new teaser trailer for Dark Souls II titled “Forging a Hero”.

Dark Souls' universe is taking a surprising new form...
Are you ready to meet...him?

Wednesday - August 14, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Player Attack

by Couchpotato, 00:48

Player Attack has a new preview for Dark Souls II.

The demo we saw incorporated the now infamous Mirror Knight. When I saw the it, the QA analyst showing the game had beaten him only once in two days, and no journalists had beaten him at all. They were offering all kinds of prizes, but to no avail.

The Mirror Knight as we saw him was terrifying. He moved smoothly - thanks to new motion capture animations being used in Dark Souls 2 for the first time - and very quickly. And true to their descriptions of the new AI, as soon as the player tried to heal, the Mirror Knight changed his behaviour and charged straight for him.

The conceit of the Mirror Knight is a clever one: having a second knight break through the mirrored shield of the first. Even more terrifying is how this will work in the final game. The knight that breaks through the mirror won't be AI controlled, he will be another player, invading your world.

We pushed for more details: How many times would this occur in the game? How would it work? What other ideas did they have for multiplayer? The developers just smiled and refused to answer.

Like so much else in the Souls games, they want us to find out the hard way. Clearly, Dark Souls 2 is much improved - it’s got stunning graphics, smooth animations and lots of little fixes to exploits and bugs from the first two games. It also has improved AI and as many changes as possible to make the experience even harder. As for the PvP changes? Well, I imagine we’ll see for ourselves through a mirrored shield some time next year.

Wednesday - August 07, 2013

Dark Souls II - What has Changed

by Myrthos, 12:56

VideoGamerTV's editor Matt Lees dived into Dark Souls 2 and created a video of what has been changed in the game, focussing on its mechanics.

Friday - August 02, 2013

Dark Souls II - Video interview @ CVG

by Couchpotato, 00:29

CVG has a new video interview with Dark Souls 2 Director Yui Tanimura.

CVG recently had the opportunity to interview From Software's Yui Tanimura, who is serving as Dark Souls 2 director, and discuss the differences between the original Dark Souls and the upcoming sequel.

In the video interview below, Tanimura chats about the work the studio has done to improve exploration and make deaths more varied. He also discusses his team's efforts to balance the feelings of satisfaction and challenge Dark Souls is loved for.

 

Thursday - August 01, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ VGRevolution

by Couchpotato, 01:06

VGRevolution has the latest preview for Dark Souls II.

We recently went to an event to check out Namco Bandai’s latest titles. At the event we obviously made sure we checked out one of the most mutually loved/hated titles in the world, Dark Souls II.

During this demo i decided to pick the warrior, as you begin you start off in a dungeon where I headed down a ladder only to be greeted by a few undead soldiers. After fighting these opponents I found myself at a doorway leading to a lower level. As I enter the stairway it’s pitch-black unable to see what’s in front of me. I decided to run back to light a torch.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get past this part of the demo…seriously.

Releasing next March, Dark Souls 2 will remain as tough as its predecessors with a few tweaks and changes. Disregard any mention of this game being too easy for mainstream consumers.
The AI is now more immersed into the way you fight, for example – you’re attacking a monster with a certain strategy and it reaches a certain point of health, the enemy will changes tactics and kill you without warning, as you try to adjust to his new attacks.

Friday - July 26, 2013

Dark Souls II - Interview @ ClickOnline

by Couchpotato, 02:37

ClickOnline has an exclusive interview withFrom Sofware the Japanese developers of Dark Souls 2.

Dual Wielding weapons was also showcased, with several fluid animations and combos. Will players also be able to dual wield larger weapons like great-swords, spears and pole-axes?

It is planned to be for the same category weapons. For example, the dual wielding is not possible between a spear and an axe; however, it is possible between the same categories such as spears, axes, great-swords.

Will Dark Souls II offer a more fleshed out narrative? The story in previous games has been quite oblique – though many fans commend this approach...


The basic style of the story telling is the same. I feel that the user’s imagination is much more fascinating than the story itself.

The online features of the ‘Souls’ games have been rightly praised for their minimalism. Will sharing or trading items be an option in Dark Souls II?

There will be no sharing or trading items. This title’s idea is “Loose Connection”. As you mentioned in your question, a system to force excessive communication doesn’t suit this title.

And finally... Ok, so there is no new “Easy Mode” (thank god!) but what steps are being taken to open up the ‘Souls’ experience to a wider audience of interested players who may simply be too intimidated to play?

The reason why there is no “Easy Mode” is that this game’s principal is not “a high difficulty game” but “a game with high sense of accomplishment”. It is made in the way that even the situation which seems impossible to clear can be definitely cleared by thinking through the strategy, with creative approach, or by raising a character. In that meaning, the creativity to motivate the player’s efforts is most important rather than using the techniques with superficial cleverness. Then from there, there is the sense of accomplishment and this will lead to the new audience. If this series were to be supported in the future, we feel that keeping such kind of root is very important.

Source: N4G

Tuesday - July 23, 2013

Dark Souls II - Gameplay Videos from SDCC

by Couchpotato, 01:14

A youtube user called SteamyPunkSouls has posted four videos from SDCC. I also have a new trailer for the game released by From Software. Enjoy

Source: N4G

Monday - July 22, 2013

Dark Souls II - New Details Emerge from SDCC

by Couchpotato, 00:45

Gameranx has a preview of new details about Dark Souls II from SDCC.

Dark Souls 2 is currently set to release early next year. While the first two entries into the series have garnered more of a cult following, this third entry is expected to make a big splash in the mainstream market. As Q1 2014 grows closer, more details come out of the veritable woodwork.

A Reddit user, MkfShard, was present at this year's SDCC. He was able to get his hands on a playable demo of Dark Souls 2, and aggregated some of his thoughts and observations concerning the game here. We've provided some of the highlights below, but for the full list, please click the link.

  • Every action feels more weighty, which means you're committing more to each movement.
  • During special animations, you're no longer invincible; hopefully this means no more invincibility frames in PvP combat.
  • Magic has been expanded, as expected.
  • Enemy artificial intelligence has been drastically improved.
  • The targeting system is changed.

The full list has details concerning specific parts of the game, including the Mirror Knight, Turtle Knight, new spells and unique items. Considering that this gamer got his or her hands on the game, we're wondering when the SDCC demo will be released to the public. Considering that fans have been clamoring for a taste of the title since its announcement at last year's Video Game Awards, we're hoping that it won't be too long from now.

Source: N4G

Tuesday - July 09, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ Digitalspy

by Couchpotato, 00:12

Digitalspy brings us another preview among many lately for Dark Souls II.

Director Yui Tanimura said that more open progression was a focus, and teased that players won't have to go to certain places in a specific order, as with the original.

"Freedom of exploration is something we want to prioritize for Dark Souls 2, even more so than Dark Souls 1," he told Digital Spy.

"In Dark Souls 1, you were able to travel to several areas, but hopefully for Dark Souls 2, there you have more freedom to explore throughout the game."

He continued: "We realize in Dark Souls 1 there were some certain orders, like ringing the bells or going to Anor Londo, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

"In Dark Souls 2, we're hoping we can provide more freedom so things don't have to necessarily be done in a certain order.

"We're hoping that if the player tries hard enough, or are willing enough, they could even start halfway through the game, depending on how willing or how brave they are."

When discussing how the player approaches the end stages of the game, Tanimura said that while the goal of "trying to cure a curse" is the same, how you reach the latter stages "is dependent on the player".

"You won't have to follow a certain line, it will be unique for all players, I think," he said.

"It might be an interesting aspect that players will be able to enjoy a little bit more than Dark Souls 1."

Wednesday - July 03, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview @ PCGamesN

by Couchpotato, 02:47

PCGamesN has a new preview for Dark Souls 2.

The new engine is rather lovely, as this time there’s no artificial resolution cap. It’s still not going to test even a modest PC, but at least on a nice monitor you’re 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.” 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 — 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 you’ve already found. So actually, it is getting a bit more accessible.

Namco Bandai are still holding their cards pretty close to their chest. While they’ve revealed that there will be multiplayer for up to four players, they haven’t gone into detail with how it will work. It’s 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 hadn’t managed to beat once by the time of our appointment (and he didn’t 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 Bandai’s lukewarm response given to questioning on how well they’ll respond to the stability of the PC version in the face of the original title’s struggles with hackers, paying merely lip-service to doing what they can. As a series that relies heavily on a sense of fairness, more’s the pity some players are never going to want to play fair. But I hope that Namco Bandai makes sure they do.

Thursday - June 27, 2013

Dark Souls II - Interview @ GameInformer

by Couchpotato, 01:03

There's a new interview with Dark Souls II's Director Yui Tanimura on GameInformer.

What’s the difference between a hard game, and an unnecessarily frustrating game that you just want to abandon?

It’s a tough question to answer. Obviously, we implement the difficulty and challenge for that sense of satisfaction when you overcome the hurdles. When designing a game – when you start to take away all of the reasons for not playing, so if people say this is too hard, so I’m going to take away the difficulty, or this is a nuisance to do, or a pain to do, so I am going to take away that aspect of the game so that you don’t have to face that nuisance – you no longer really have a game anymore. I think the important part to do, is to implement the difficulty and implement the challenges so you have that added amount of satisfaction when you overcome it. Hopefully, when you implement difficulty to a game, when you overcome it, you can feel the sense of difficulty was worth it. I think that type of reward is important.

Something like Dark Souls, though, we try to implement this difficulty for that added level of satisfaction and happiness when you are able to overcome. But there will be aspects of the game where there are some areas that will be more of a pain to get through than others. I think that balance is something important. It’s hard to answer directly, but we took a lot of care in terms of tuning each instance of the so-called challenges so that we reached an overall good balance throughout the game.

Do you think the word “accessible” automatically translates to “easy”?

No, we don’t actually. The reason why we used the word accessible was not to say that the game is going to be easier by any means. We’re maintaining the difficulty and we think the challenges are required. What we meant was, there are certain aspects of the game where it didn’t really have a direct connection to the sense of satisfaction of overcoming. There were things that were a little bit time consuming or a little bit tedious that we wanted to streamline – sort of carve away all the fat so we could really deliver the lean pure expression of what Dark Souls tries to communicate, which is the sense of satisfaction of overcoming. In terms of accessibility, what we meant was a more streamlined experience to deliver the more pure essence of Dark Souls.

You’re a new director for Dark Souls. What are you going to do to make it your game? What will define Dark Souls II as a Yui Tanimura game?

Throughout the game, there are going to be a lot of different small things that I will direct and will be implemented due to my personality or direction, but the biggest part I feel that will characterize this game as the game that I directed will probably be the game balancing. I take care of a lot of the balancing of the game – with the difficulty, the trickiness, of the frustration that you feel. I intend to spend a lot of my time trying to balance placements of the enemies, the parameters of the enemies so that players can face that difficulty, face those challenges, but also conquer enough to sense that satisfaction. Balance is probably the most important part of this game and I feel responsible in balancing the game, and tuning it to the finest details so that Dark Souls II will be the best experience so far in the series that we’ve created.

 

Wednesday - June 26, 2013

Dark Souls II - Gameplay Footage

by Couchpotato, 02:44

Destructoid has four videos of Dark Souls II showcasing gameplay for four of the initial starting classes, the Warrior, the Sorcerer, the Temple Knight and the Dual Swordsman.

 

Saturday - June 22, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview Roundup #4

by Couchpotato, 00:52

Another day and here we are with more previews for Dark Souls 2.

GamingNexus

 I'm way out of practice when it comes to Dark Souls, so I had no illusions that I was going to be able to conquer this short demo. But what I did get to play was of the same level of quality of Demon Souls, and its follow up, Dark Souls. And whatever rumors were going around about the game being easier and more 'accessible,' I would say 'hah!' Actually our demonstrator made sure to point out that the difficulty has not been adjusted, so that sense of accomplishment and achievement when you get through this game is certainly still there, and enemies are still tough thanks to the allegedly improved AI. Though I can say that multiple enemies would attack me at the same time without any remorse, compared to most games where all the enemies back off while one comes in weakly, it's refreshing to see a game that makes you pay attention to your surroundings so you don't rouse more enemies.

     Character creation has received a little bit of an upgrade in Dark Souls 2. It's now possible to carry up to three weapons or shields with you on your quest and dual-wielding weapons has been introduced, which means you can be a total bad-ass and dual wield swords, or be the craziest tank ever and carry to tower shields, provided you've got the brute strength necessary to do it. The new engine for the game also makes your characters look better than ever, though you won't really have much time to stop and check out the locales, I made that mistake as I descended in to a tomb and promptly got knocked off a ledge by a skeleton knight, leaving a nice pool of blood that I'm sure someone will try to get to later.

TheKoalition

There are many compromises to be had in Dark Souls II. For instance, when the lights go out it actually gets dark to the point you can't see anything without a torch. Unfortunately, equipping a torch means giving up either your second weapon or your shield. So it's either endure the darkness with the risk of being caught off guard, or embrace one handed combat for the sake of seeing the environment around you. This is exactly how choice is supposed to work in a role-playing game.

Contrary to belief of the Dark Souls II community, Dark Souls II is not dumbed down at all. In my opinion it's on its way to being one of the most intelligent role-playing games this gen. I was never a Demon Souls or Dark Souls I player, but I will certainly be a Dark Souls 2 player.

NerdReactor

The souls series is one that crushes you until you either get better, or until you poke around and find some way around the often seemingly insurmountable obstacle that you’re facing. It could be considered the video game equivalent of trying to join the Navy Seals. It’s about leveling up, obtaining new gear, fighting difficult monsters, and exploring the unknown. Going into the E3 demo, I was excited but a little apprehensive. Would the designers give into the masses and make the game easier? In short, no. Not at all. I would later find that Dark Souls 2 is just as hard, if not harder than the original, and improved in many ways.

Dark Souls II was one the best games I saw at E3 this year, offering an extravagant adventure that is unmatched in the RPG genre. It revitalized my anticipation, not to mention showed how far the series still can go. From Software constantly improves on testing their fans’ ability to break the game and capitalize on the smallest opportunities. They have sowed up so many holes from the last game that it’s going to be a challenge to relearn many of the new and modified mechanics. Dark Souls II will be out in March of 2014 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. - See more at: http://www.hardcoregamer.com/2013/06/20/e3-2013-prepare-to-die-once-again-in-dark-souls-ii/#sthash.aR5Bzydw.dpuf

Dark Souls II was one the best games I saw at E3 this year, offering an extravagant adventure that is unmatched in the RPG genre. It revitalized my anticipation, not to mention showed how far the series still can go. From Software constantly improves on testing their fans’ ability to break the game and capitalize on the smallest opportunities. They have sowed up so many holes from the last game that it’s going to be a challenge to relearn many of the new and modified mechanics. Dark Souls II will be out in March of 2014 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. - See more at: http://www.hardcoregamer.com/2013/06/20/e3-2013-prepare-to-die-once-again-in-dark-souls-ii/#sthash.aR5Bzydw.dpuf

Thursday - June 20, 2013

Dark Souls II - Preview Roundup #3

by Couchpotato, 00:56

It's time for round three of more previews for Dark Souls II.

CanadianOnlineGamers

Despite all my swagger and confidence I didn’t last more than 10 seconds against the demo’s boss the Mirror Knight. Slamming his mirror shield into the ground in front of me my reflection came to life and bashed its way into the fighting arena. Turning on my heels I had my feet kicked out from under me and was quickly dispatched. With equal parts frustration and embarrassment I stepped aside to watch the next sucker try their luck.

The final note of improvement to touch on is persistent bonfire warping. Every single bonfire you come across will allow you to warp rather than only the odd one. This will greatly reduce the amount of time a player randomly wanders over the landscape. A small improvement but an appreciated one I’m sure.

Unfortunately we didn’t get a look at the multiplayer offering so fans will have to wait a little longer for information in that department. Approximately 40 hours in agonizing length Dark Souls II is slated to arrive to PC and next gen consoles sometime around March 2014 but no date has been set in stone. After only getting a slight glimpse into what From Software is offering I can safely say that I’m excited to see what else they have in store.

Pixelitis

All that talk about making the game “more accessible” to newcomers shouldn’t be taken the wrong way. The game still promises to be difficult, and From Software is still looking to instill that satisfying sense of achievement within players who manage to conquer its brutality after repeated attempts.

The game’s increased accessibility has more to do with its revamped class system, which lets you hand-pick your stats first, thereby assembling a group of appropriate class options that help narrow down your choice. The team is also trying to cut down on needless backtracking by linking all activated bonfires, so that you can warp between any of them.

The first thing I noticed during the demo was just how improved Dark Souls II looks visually. Its received a humongous boost in the smooth department when compared to its jagged predecessors, and it’s all thanks to its new engineThankfully, From Software has learned from the the development of the PC version, and promises to make this a PC port done right, without requiring any fanmade 1080p mods.

Eurogamer

Dark Souls 2 invokes the same feeling of nervous exploration as its predecessors and the new enemy AI and increased movesets could very well give the already robust epic extra legs. Most importantly, Dark Souls 2 feels like Dark Souls, but distinguishes itself just enough that it will give veterans a whole new set of weapons to master, demons to overcome, and secrets to discover. With the next generation of consoles stealing the limelight this Boxing Day season, Dark Souls 2 looks like a firm reminder that there's still more treasure to uncover without spending hundreds on a new system.

Entertainium

I played around 20 minutes after the walkthrough finished. It felt exactly like Dark Souls should. The game’s trademark animation-priority remains in effect, forcing you to be conscious of your actions. Adversaries, including the lightweight grunts, are difficult take down unless in one-on-one combat, and even then, victory is hard-fought.

 

The most notable change is the speed of movement has been decreased slightly. Actions take a little longer to recover from, stamina regeneration not kicking in until animations have finished completely instead of when recovery starts. There’s a certain weight to them as well. It’s all fluid (the new engine makes everything look and run smoothly), but felt heavy – in a good way. It forced me to essentially re-learn Dark Souls. How to pace myself and manage stamina, when to strike, guard, evade; it all felt like typical Dark Souls, but with just enough adjustments to make it fresh again. Which is exactly what it needed to do.

Polygon

Dark Souls 2's new engine will allow the game's soft-spoken co-director, Yui Tanimura, to fulfill his long-held desire to include new, subtler expressions in the game, Tanimura told Polygon at E3 2013.

At the macro level, the sequel's graphical upgrade will allow players to "dive in and immerse themselves within the actual gameplay and feel as if they are actually part of the game itself," Tanimura told Polygon through a translator. In the micro, the new engine allows Dark Souls 2 to include flourishes that weren't possible in the original Dark Souls engine.

Kotaku

Whether or not Dark Souls II lives up to its predecessors obviously has yet to be decided. I cannot say that From Software won’t piss the entire franchise down their leg or that the game won’t be horribly uneven and broken. That’s simply not something you can glean from an awkward demo booked when you’re trying to bust your ass at E3. But what I can say and what I think is ultimately the most important statement, is this:

This is Dark Souls. This is Dark Souls. Thank God, this is Dark Souls.

Friday - June 14, 2013

Dark Souls II - Various News Roundup #2

by Couchpotato, 00:35

I've rounded up a few more previews for Dark Souls II from this year's E3 conference.

The Escapist - "Dying Over and Over Never Looked So Good"

From Software showed off four classes at the event: the Warrior, Sorcerer, Temple Knight, and Dual Swordsman. These classes aren't confirmed for the game yet, but I'd say it's a pretty safe bet we'll see them. The developer also mentioned that there will be more than four classes in the game, which isn't surprising considering Dark Souls had 12.

The most interesting of the classes shown off was definitely the Dual Swordsman. Dual wielding is another new feature of Dark Souls 2. In the original, you could hold a weapon or shield in your off hand but couldn't actually use it. In Dark Souls 2, you'll now have the chance to use weapons in both hands. The Dual Swordsman was able to - surprise - wield two swords at once and attack with them simultaneously. He was quick, agile, and dealt a medium amount of damage to enemies. If the enemy managed to get in even a few swipes on him though, he was done for.

There were also a couple of new items shown off during the demo as well. The first was a life gem, which allows the user to regenerate a little bit of health over time. Estus healing flasks are still in the game, but life gems provide an alternative to getting your precious health back. There's also a green blossom which increases your stamina, allowing you to attack more or run longer.

EDGE - "Hands-on impressions and new details on FromSoftware’s Sequel"

There is much here to like. There is an awful lot that reassures us this is still Dark Souls. And yet we have concerns.

You can warp between bonfires from the very beginning of the game – as long as you’ve already visited them, of course. Dark Souls kept this ability from you until a good way through the game, until you had learnt area after area like the back of your hand. Even then it limited those you could warp to a relative handful. We worry that letting us move freely from one bonfire to the next will mean we feel less connected to Dark Souls II’s world than we did to its predecessor’s.

That desire for accessibility means that Dark Souls’ character creation system, which was admittedly baffling on first playthrough, has been replaced by what Hong says will ask you to define “parameters and preferences about the way you want to play the game.” It will then present you with a number of choices for a starting build. The four available here – Warrior, Sorcerer, Temple Knight and Dual Swordsman – serve only to streamline this particular demo, and won’t necessarily be in the final game. The reasons for this are clear, and understandable – and you’ll still be able to switch class completely as you progress through the game – but it does rather pull the game away from its D&D roots.

Computer and Videogames - "Hands-on: Beautiful and Brutal"

Enemies range from typical variations on the lumpen undead seen throughout Dark Souls, though to a new turtle-backed beast that will crush you beneath its shell dare you attack it from behind. The enemy AI has been improved, in the sense that each enemy's moveset is larger than before. This means simply memorising what each foe is capable of will not hold you in good stead. Even the lowly enemies are unpredictable, though patience and observation is still rewarded. As in Dark Souls, three consecutive sword swipes is very reckless, so know your enemy.

The controls operate and feel exactly the same as Dark Souls 2, but there is a new health item in addition to Estus. Called Lifegems, these items regenerate health very slowly and by a fraction of what an Estus will. It's a trade-off, because consuming Lifegems doesn't slow the player down like supping from the Estus flask does, and be warned: enemy's are more likely to attack while your guard is down in Dark Souls 2. They're smarter.

Another neat change is with dual-wielding: if you're brave enough to forgo a shield, you can actually attack with both weapons simultaneously, rather than with just one at a time. Simply equip two weapons and hit the button to attack with two hands, and you'll deal a lot of damage to certain enemies, but it's a risky maneuver.

NowGamer - "Number One Thing For Us Was Don't Sell Out"

"When we were trying to come up with the planning, when we were trying to communicate what this game was, the number one thing for us was don't sell out" says Hong.

"Let's make sure we are true to what Dark Souls is meant to be and intended to be. As far as promotion goes, we don't necessarily want to be like 'hey, prepare to die, it's all about death, it's all about being hard' because that was the message the first time around.

"Like every good game, it should evolve and the messaging should match that evolution, right? So this game is definitely better. It's got a lot of things that we want to show the folks along the course of the next 10, 11 months as we get on."

Hong went on to speak about how important the die-hard Dark Souls fans have been in the creation of the sequel.

"Naturally the fans are what's really driving all of this. The organic growth that we experienced could not happen without the fans.

"So first and foremost, it's all about them and it's all about serving them and what is it that they really loved about this game. In terms of our messaging, that's what we are intending to try and convey. All the stuff you loved about Dark Souls and all the things we think you're going to love about Dark Souls 2, we want to articulate that. "

 

Wednesday - June 12, 2013

Dark Souls II - Various News Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:07

We have a demo trailer and three previews for Dark Souls 2. The video of the demo can be found here. Warning for spoilers.

IGN

Dark Souls earned its infamy by living up to its slogan, “Prepare to Die.” A merit badge to some and an unfathomable piece of masochism to others, the game made its mark by marrying the unrelenting difficulty of the 8-bit generation with an obtuse suite of systems and mechanics that were never overtly explained to the player. Some gamers relished this fresh experience, while others couldn’t comprehend why anyone would submit themselves to such torture.  In such, it’s no surprise that this pairing still exists as the heart and soul of Dark Souls II, Namco Bandai’s eagerly-awaited follow-up.

After revealing the first look at the gameplay back in April, we were finally given the chance to get our hands on a small slice of the game, which included a short dungeon followed by an intensely impressive boss encounter. But instead of just having a single take on the demo, we decided to tackle the game from two very different perspectives. One IGN editor braved through the series and views it as one of the most remarkable achievements of this generation, while the other has never even given thought to kindling a bonfire. Here’s what they thought.

Polygon

Dark Souls 2 has a new director and a new engine, but the soul of From Software's series of dark, challenging role-playing games appears to be intact in Dark Souls 2, even if slipping into its body feels a bit different.

Some of the game's changes, including its new graphics engine, took a bit of time to get used to in a recent hands-on demo. The control of characters felt noticeably different, speedier perhaps, and without the weight of characters in Dark Souls. We had no way to see what our characters stats were, nor the weight of the equipment they carried, so it's difficult to judge how character's will ultimately feel.

And Dark Souls 2 won't ship for consoles and PC until March 2014, so the game has time to gel and be polished. But the extra time From Software has to perfect the game is comforting.

Siliconera

Dark Souls II was shown on a high end PC with an Xbox 360 gamepad used to control the game. The framerate was smooth and the game’s graphics look better, but it’s hard to say how Dark Souls II will look on consoles. The animation work which feels more fluid than other Souls games should be consistent between platforms. Dark Souls II is in development for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

 

 

 

Tuesday - June 11, 2013

Dark Souls II - Hands-On: Prepare To Die All Over Again

by Couchpotato, 12:36

Neoseeker's shared their thoughts on Dark Souls II  based on some hands-on time they spent on it at E3.

Dark Souls II may not be a next-gen release, but it remains one of the most anticipated games this year and Namco's biggest offering at E3. FromSoftware flipped the industry upside down back in 2009 when they introduced us to Demon's Souls and taught us the true meaning of death. Virtual death, anyway. From there, we saw Dark Souls, the wildly successful follow-up that expanded the series to beyond PlayStation.

Prior to E3, we were able to get our hands on the upcoming Dark Souls II and experience, once again, the soul-crushing feeling of defeat. Sort of. FromSoftware was kind enough to at least activate God Mode for us, so that we might never die. Except on the inside.

During our time with the game, I played as that armored fellow shown in the announcement trailer, and faced down against several bosses intent on killing me.

I couldn't give you an actual verdict on Dark Souls II just after spending 30 minutes with an early build. But from what I experienced, the game seems to bring with it much of what made the first so popular. The visuals are fantastic, consistent with the Dark Souls style, and the combat is no less punishing. A part of me certainly dreads having to re-experience all of that as a mere mortal, but hey, that's part of Dark Souls' charm, isn't it?

Dark Souls II will be out March 2014 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

Monday - June 10, 2013

Dark Souls II - Gameplay Footage

by Couchpotato, 20:17

A new trailer for Dark Souls 2 was released duriing the E3 Microsoft press conference showing off some brand-new gameplay.

Monday - June 03, 2013

Dark Souls II - Coming March 2014 According to E3 Sign

by Couchpotato, 00:37

Well it's time for the rumoer mill again. Kotaku has spotted a pre-E3 billboard sign for Dark Souls II in Los Angeles, which lists the game as coming out in March 2014.

Time will tell I guess. E3 is in a few weeks so we will probably know then.

UPDATE: Namco Bandai Europe has confirmed to Eurogamer this morning that Dark Souls 2 will be released in March 2014 it's official now. No more specific day-and-date detail was available.

Saturday - May 25, 2013

Dark Souls II - Deciphering Dark Souls 2

by Couchpotato, 00:17

VG247 has an article about Dark Souls 2. The topic of the article is the games accessibility.

In truth, there is nothing on show here that offers any cause for alarm. No wholesale changes, recharging health or ill-advised cover mechanics to sully the series’ pure roots and challenging gameplay.

Instead, there is just that one nagging worry that without Miyazaki’s constant presence, the rest of the team might be tempted to tip the balance further in the player’s favour or face publisher pressure to chase a bigger audience by relaxing the firm hand that the first two titles maintained throughout.

Perhaps it’s unfair to be concerned or maybe it’s the unavoidable by-product being so invested in the franchise. I keep coming back to the idea that Miyazaki’s show-not-tell approach is completely at odds with so many other high-profile titles. Without him, will damaging sacrifices be made in a bid for mass-market acceptance?

Of course, neither Dark Souls nor Demon’s Souls were made by just one man. Therefore, I can only hope that those who worked alongside Miyazaki paid close attention to his methods and share his passion for treating players like intelligent adults. Ultimately, I want some of the mystery to remain intact so that I might savour the experience of figuring it out for myself.

Thursday - May 16, 2013

Dark Souls II - Namco on Marketing The Game

by Couchpotato, 00:19

OXM has an article about Dark Souls 2. According to PR Director Lee Kirton the publisher has no qualms about marketing the game this time. Namco would like to attract Skyrim players, but previous buyers are still the main focus.

"The good thing this time round is we're investing more in it from a marketing perspective," Kirton told OXM at a preview event in London today. "With Dark Souls and [PS3-exclusive spiritual predecessor] Demon Souls it was very focused, small-scale. We're treating this as a massive, massive triple-A title."

"We're going to go guns-blazing with it, and hope to God that it works," he continued. "We're going after people who love and adore Dark Souls, while hopefully widening the net a little. I'm not saying that every Skyrim player's going to be jumping on Dark Souls, but it would be nice if some of them did. It's a different game, sure."

Thursday - April 25, 2013

Dark Souls II - Unorthodox Multiplayer and Level Design

by Couchpotato, 00:09

GameReactor spoke to Dark Souls 2 director Yui Tanimura at the recent Global Gamers Day event. Tanimura had quite a bit to say about the game by elaborating upon the design decisions he made for Dark Souls 2.

Director Yui Tanimura gives us a brief round down on the changes he's wrought to Dark Souls, and how sharing the game with other players will make for a better experience.

Saturday - April 20, 2013

Dark Souls II - Prepare to Die Harder

by Couchpotato, 09:55

2D-X has an article with more information on Dark Souls 2.

We were told that Dark Souls II is using an improved graphical engine that promises greater graphical fidelity than previous titles. The demo we were presented played on a PC version of the game. According to Miyazoe and Tanimura, Dark Souls II is being developed simultaneously for all three platforms (PC, Xbox 360, and PS3).

On the subject of equipment, I asked Tanimura how equipment burden would work in Dark Souls II. The character piloted in Dark Souls II moved incredibly fluidly, despite being overburdened with full armor and six weapons. He answered by explaining that ”the relationship between weight and movement speed will be maintained. For the sake of the demo, and because we haven’t fully tuned the mechanics yet, it did seem faster than what it should be.”

Storytelling will continue in much the same way that it was presented in Dark Souls as well. In the original game, NPC dialogue and item descriptions were all you had to piece together the cryptic story of the game. Every item gave us a small nugget of information about the regions of the world and famous people who once lived there, or the gods and their relationships with one another, or the fall of the regions you explored. NPCs added their own spin on the story, giving us lore filtered through their own eyes and experiences. The beauty with this method of storytelling is how non-intrusive it is. Players who wish to immerse themselves in the world can study every piece of flavor text in the game, while those who don’t give a fig can ignore or outright murder NPCs and never read a single item description, yet still complete the game.

“In terms of our storytelling methods, we plan to continue in the same way we told story in Dark Souls,” Tanimura replied when asked about the storytelling. “We’re not going to directly communicate story to the players. What we want to encourage is for players to try and imagine and utilize their experiences with NPCs and events in the game to piece together the story.”

 

Wednesday - April 17, 2013

Dark Souls II - No Easy Mode Allowed

by Couchpotato, 23:10

Forbes has an interview with with Dark Souls Director Yui Tanimura.

According to From Software’s Dark Souls II director, Yui Tanimura, challenge is one of the things that made the original game so satisfying.

But as word of a push toward more ‘accessibility’ in the new game spread across the internet, fans began to worry. News that creator Hidetaka Miyazaki was not directing the sequel only made matters worse.

Would the sequel be dumbed down? Would it be made easier? Would it go for the “Skyrim audience?”

“I would like to clarify here that we do not have any plan to make the game easier,” Tanimura tells me. “As Dark Souls focused on giving a sense of satisfaction to players, Dark Souls II is also pursuing to provide this sense. We cherish Dark Souls fans’ voices and would like to improve this game based on their voices to let them enjoy a highly challenging game.”

Along these lines, the developer has no plans to include options within the game to make it easier for more casual players.

“We do not plan on having an Easy Mode,” says Tanimura, “since we are creating this game with a thought that challenge and difficulty are core elements of the game.”

No Easy Mode should certainly come as a relief to many Souls fans.

 

Dark Souls II - Design A Shield

by Couchpotato, 05:54

Namco Bandai wants you to create a piece of equipment for the upcoming Dark Souls II.

Popular shield design contest returns offering players another chance of Immortality in Dark Souls II

NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe announce announces that a DARK SOULS™ II shield design contest will begin today on the game’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/darksouls.

Channel your inner medieval craftsman and create the best shield design; showing off your skills as a warrior artist. Then, submit your works of art, and watch the votes tally up from every corner of the globe from fellow Dark Souls II fans.

The submission and voting period for shield designs will begin on April 15th and run through May 13th. Beginning May 14th no further submissions will be taken and the contest enters into a “voting only” phase until May 20th. On May 20th the shield designs that receive the most fan votes will be submitted for a final round of judging by the Dark Souls II development team at FromSoftware in Japan. The FromSoftware development team will select the final six winning shield designs to be included within the final Dark Souls II game. The winners will be announced at San Diego Comic Con taking place from July 18th through the 21st.

The six lucky winners will be able to engage in battle with their friends online while proudly bearing the shield of their own design. Other players will also be able to carry the shields designed by their compatriots into battle.

Friday - April 12, 2013

Dark Souls II - Trailer Shows Engine's Improvements

by Couchpotato, 04:40

Yet again another Dark Souls 2 trailer but this time it's to show off the improved engine. This one is shorter and doesn't spoil the game.

Dark Souls 2 will utilize a new engine to bring a feeling of freshness to the series. As demonstrated in the trailer below, it has allowed From Software to make the game's areas much larger while improving texture quality at the same time. A series of new lighting effects radiate when you light your torch or find a shrivel of light within the game's wealth of dark corridors. Most importantly, the framerate problems of Dark Souls have been rectified. Along with more detailed animations the game is more smooth and stylized than the games which preceeded it.

 

Source: EuroGamer

Thursday - April 11, 2013

Dark Souls II - Director Promises Better Port

by Couchpotato, 19:48

Shacknews reports a fan petition successfully convinced publisher Namco Bandai, and developer From Software to bring Dark Souls 2 to PC.

"A lot of it was not very well done, sort of half-assed," Dark Souls 2 director Yui Tanimura told Shacknews via translator (Tak Miyazoe), while promising a much better experience for the sequel.

"Yes, we will definitely put more priority on the PC. Last time, we started working on PC after the console version was complete," Tanimura explained. "This time, because we are considering the PC from the beginning, you can be sure there will be more care put into PC development."

Source: Shack News

Dark Souls II - First Gameplay Footage

by Couchpotato, 04:51

IGN has a 12 minute interviw of Dark Souls 2. I know from personal experience the first was in my opinion a very good game. Given the sales on the pc it's likely that the second game will have a pc release. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday - January 30, 2013

Dark Souls II - Miyazaki Interview @ Edge

by Myrthos, 12:53

Edge Online talked to Dark Souls producer Hidetaka Miyazaki to learn that amongst others he is only involved in it's follow up Dark Souls II as a supervisor.

“I will not be involved in the actual development of Dark Souls II,” he says matter-of-factly. “I want to clarify that I will be a supervisor, not the actual director or producer.”

This is a crushing revelation for any hardcore fan of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, akin to a cinephile learning that Pulp Fiction 2 is in production, but that Quentin Tarantino isn’t attached to the picture. The strong personal tie between Miyazaki and the two dark fantasy RPGs he’s created to date has been well established. He explained to us in a previous interview, for instance, that the veil of ambiguity hovering over the Souls games grew out of his experiences as a child poring over western fantasy literature. Due to his patchy comprehension of English at the time, there were large chunks of each book he couldn’t decipher, leaving him to fill in the details with his imagination. He set out to create that same sense of awe and bewilderment in his games, letting players fill in the gaps with their imagination instead of having every plot point and objective clearly articulated through in-game text or cutscenes.

Sunday - December 23, 2012

Dark Souls II - What they can do to make it better @ Kotaku

by Dhruin, 22:37

Kotaku has penned a piece titled Here's What the Developers of Dark Souls II Can Do To Make it Better:

 

Accessibility

Finally—and this may not be a popular opinion right now—a more accessible Dark Souls II might not be a bad thing. The new director's recent statements on the subject enraged fans, and understandably—no one wants Dark Souls to turn into Skyrim. But seriously, let's talk about this for a second. Imagine if you didn't have to check the Dark Souls wiki every time you wanted to upgrade an item, or if plot details were doled out through dialogue and character interactions instead of static in-game descriptions of shields and rings. As long as they retain a similar sense of wonder and sometimes desperate isolation, it can still be great. Hell, it could be even better.

 

Friday - December 21, 2012

Dark Souls II - First Concept Arts

Wednesday - December 19, 2012

Dark Souls II - Comments from Miyazaki

by Dhruin, 23:04

Polygon has some comments on Dark Souls II from Hidetaka Miyazaki, the previous project director, in Japan's Famitsu magazine. Dark Souls II will be set in a different region of the same world and he believes they need to protect the "core":

"If we're going to announce this as a sequel to Dark Souls then I think there's certainly a core that we need to protect," Miyazaki said. "I'm talking about how we think about the difficulty level and how you achieve things in-game; about the concepts behind the mechanics and level design. Outside of that core, though, I think it's better to leave things to the discretion of the director. There's a lot around that core that we need to fix or adjust, besides, and individual touches always tend to come out in the world setting and artwork, so I'm not meddling in that very much."

Source: Joystiq

Friday - December 14, 2012

Dark Souls II - Editorials @ IGN, Joystiq

by Dhruin, 00:11

Two editorials have been penned expressing concern over changes to the formula of Dark Souls II. Let's start with IGN's 4 Reasons I'm Worried About Dark Souls 2:

1. No Miyazaki

From Software's Hidetaka Miyazaki was the director of both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls and his influence is everywhere in those games. He's an exceptionally sharp and unusual character, utterly uncompromising in his vision and fastidious about realising it. He takes an extremely active role in everything from art design to player feedback, from the intricacies of the game's mechanics to the overarching themes of death and hopelessness that permeate every tiny element of it. And he's not directing Dark Souls 2. Instead we've got Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura, both of whom are a mystery. Shibuya's MobyGames profile shows games from Resident Evil Outbreak to Monster Hunter, but I don't know how long he's been at From.

This really concerns me. When we interviewed Miyazaki in 2011, he gave the impression that he wouldn't do another Souls game unless he knew it was breaking new ground once again. Miyazaki is apparently staying on as an advisor, but if he's no longer in charge of Dark Souls, does that mean he can't think of where to take it next? Frankly, if Miyazaki can't take Dark Souls in brave new directions, I'm a bit sceptical that anyone can. A Dark Souls rehash would definitely not be the worst thing in the world, but it also wouldn't be in the spirit of the series.

...and Joystiq's The real danger in Dark Souls 2 is not 'accessibility':

The fear, I think, is that Dark Souls 2 is moving toward appeasing mainstream audiences and losing some of what made it so special in the first place. It's a valid concern, especially considering the venue the game was announced at. But being more straight-forward is not a bad thing. Both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, if you'll recall, featured some pretty obtuse level design (screw Blighttown, seriously). There's a middle ground that can be reached here.

What actually worries me is the fact that Dark Souls just keeps getting bigger and bigger. In noting Shibuya's comment about accessibility, Edge indirectly gave voice to those fears by suggesting that "we can surely agree that we would all like to see Dark Souls attain as great a presence as The Elder Scrolls."

Well no. Not really.

Sunday - December 09, 2012

Dark Souls II - Revealed at VGAs

by Dhruin, 00:01

Xarg sends word that Bandai Namco and From announced Dark Souls II at the VGAs.  A teaser site has been launched and the PC is listed as a platform - let's hope including the PC from the start means better support. Gametrailers has the footage from the VGAs (skip to 2:20 unless you really want to listen to Jessica Alba). 

Information about

Dark Souls II

Developer: From Software

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
World
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2014-04-25
· Publisher: Namco Bandai