Death, Death and more Deaths this is what awaits any adventurer in Dark Souls, with all the deaths comes a huge world to explore, many foes and plenty of bosses to kill. The Franchise has become a true gaming phenomenon with its uncompromising action RPG hard-core gameplay, that has taken gamers to an all-new level not experienced in such a long time or for most not at all.
So Yes! It’s finally arrived on PC the next installment to Dark Souls franchise ‘Dark Souls 2’, but have the developers done the game any justice this time for us PC gamers? Well I am happy to say that the Developer ‘FromSoftware’ have pulled there developing fingers from their butts and created a game with PC Game to be proud of. When Dark Souls was ported to the PC it failed to deliver any basic pc configuration settings now this time though, the basic video settings include Full Screen/windowed, Resolution and auto-detect best rendering settings. Click advance setting and you get an array of other options, Texture, shadows and effect qualities, Antialiasing, Motion Blur, Camera Blur, Anisotropic Filtering, SSAO, Depth of Field, Water quality and High quality character rendering. Not only that move over to key bindings and you can key bind what you wish to Keyboard and mouse.
FromSoftware employed a PC Game Developer this time or did they just learn to code for pc?
Dark Souls reminds me of The Legend of Zelda from Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, he says, his inspiration came from walking around his local forest, full of monsters and such. Take away the cuteness; add a load of hard enemies, huge Bosses that could easily sit on you without even knowing, more deaths than you care to count, sprinkle some fairy dust and we give you something that is not Zelda, but your worst nightmare, we give you Dark Souls.
Achievement unlocked ‘This is Dark Souls’
Did FromSoftware tone down the game in any way from its predecessors? Should FromSoftware consider toning down to appeal to more avid gamer? That answer from them is a rezounding NO! The game will require skill and patience; no MUPPPPET can play this game. FromSoftware decided to keep the games core elements and mechanics exactly the same and provided their fans with game to be proud of, a game that will test your skills and you accomplish feats of strength and strategy.
You arrive in the land of Drangleic, as an undead, in the distance you see a light, as you walk towards the light a cottage appears, inside you go, where you meet three miserable old hags, who will ask you a number of questions and talk a load of bollocks (No Spoilers here sorry). Within this segment of the game you will get to create, name, customise and choose a class for your champion. Classes consist of The Warrior, high in strength, dexterity and skilled with weapons. The Knight: High HP and adaptability and tough to take down. The Swordsman: fights gracefully and duel wields with strong weapons. The Bandit: An outlaw with High Dexterity, skilled with a bow and can fight well at any range. The Cleric: High in faith (No shit) and miracles that guide the cleric on his/her way. The Sorcerer: Casts sorceries, has high intelligence and attunement. The Explorer: A well-travelled individual, not very powerful but has many items at his/her exposal. The Deprived: An unclothed with origin unknown, has nothing to fight with except flesh.
Before I go any further a little heads up for new players to Dark Souls, there are a few changes that may help you a little bit, maybe, you will find that the first, let’s say 20 to 30mins, is more of less a tutorial. Not only that if you end up dying too many times in a certain area you will find the game will make it a little easier by removing the respawn of enemies that you have killed. There is also many more health pickups lying around which is a bonus and bonfires now act as a fast travel between areas.
Now we get to talk about the part of the game, that can get a little tedious for, let’s say the non-patient gamers, if you die don’t expect to spawn on top of your dead corpse or just a few footsteps behind, nope, you get spawn right back at the last bonfire you last visited. When you die you also lose all the souls that you collected from defeating your foes, if you wish to re-capture them souls, you will need to retrace your steps back to where you got owned; there you will find a bloodstain and the all the souls. Oh yeah, if you die again while making your way back to your bloodstain, you can say good bye to those souls as they will be gone forever.
Screw this I’m going home, Wait i am home bollocks
The game gets even harder the more times you die as well, by reducing your health, there is a limit to how much it can be reduced to of course. By doing this, pushes you to use magic, namely ‘Human Effigy’ which returns you to a human state. Did you think that was it? Nope combat is a bitch as well, you need to time your strikes and blocks, and strategize every encounter, while keeping an eye on your health and stamina. The last thing you want is no stamina, as your strikes will be more or less puffs of fresh air. Many encounters will pit you against more than one enemy at any one time, sometimes you might get all easy enemies, and other times you might get easy enemy’s mixed with slightly harder enemy’s , worst of all, you might get all sodden hard enemy types ‘OUCH’. Use your head and work out the best way to take them down; running in and screaming ‘FOR GOD AND COUNTRY’ does nothing accept, get you killed.
Not all is lost, you can obtain new armour, health and stat boosts, all of which can help you survive as you adventure through the dangerous world of Drangleic. The question you should be asking yourself, in this game is do I continue or do I go back to the bonfire, it’s all a balancing act, move on and risk it for the reward, or play it safe, hand in your souls at the bonfire then continue your adventure, you choose but choose wisely. One thing you will need to also consider does your weapon need to be re-forged as a broken weapon or and unusable weapon is a bit shit and re-forging can only be done at a bonfire.
The land of Drangleic is a huge expanse to explore, with horrors around each corner, decaying structures and bodies and AI struggling to cope with what’s happened to the world, a dark and desperate land, this is your fate. The feeling of achievement is everything in this game, taking down that boss that has killed you over and over again feels so bloody great, and your sweaty palms can finally relax.
Let’s turn our attention to graphics, now we already know that graphics don’t make a great game, just look at all the Indie games coming out and shitcraft (Minecraft) Dark Souls is in no way a masterpiece of perfection and realism. But this is what makes Dark Souls so good; it proves you can have bad animation, not the greatest textures and yet make a game that just does exactly what’s on the packet ‘challenge, and push you to the edge of insanity’. Move over bad animation and poor textures, the design of the enemies, bosses and general environments are all well designed.
Online features are back, call in friends to help you, leave warnings for others or invade a game and kill them… don’t think being an undead or hollow will keep you safe, FromSoftware have removed this option and now you can die in any form, apart from offline.
Covenants/factions are back and better than before, you can access these very early in the game and can provide you more ways to interact with the world and other gamers. Covenants can offer assistance and protection from enemies or goals to complete, you choose what Covenant to join by taking an oath from a specific NPC within the game, but be warned they have guidelines and you must follow them.
Dark Souls 2 can be an atmospheric masterpiece, heart pounding experience, edge of your seat, doing your bloody head in, where’s my debit card, need a new mouse and keyboard type game. You will either like it or hate, it a bit like marmite.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.