Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
Box Art

Dark Souls II - Preview Roundup #3

by Couchpotato, 2013-06-20 00:56:26

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Information about

Dark Souls II

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released