back to article It's not just incredibly hard, it's really quite pretty: Dark Souls II

I knew there was something eerily familiar about the dead-eyed shuffle of my enemies in Dark Souls II and now I realise they remind me of the huge cannibal giants of Attack on Titan. Shambling to my recurrent death, I am now convinced the less forgiving the game, the greater the elation, sense of achievement and immersion. Dark …

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Yeh! a game review which doesn't mention Titanfall...

oh!, ermmmm.

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Gotta say

I agree with pretty much everything in this review. Especially the point of games feeling dumbed down, and a challenge such as Dark Souls 2 is like an oasis in a desert filled with packing foam.

To clarify what I mean, Diablo 2 was a fun challenging game which you had to explore and grind here and there to win, even on easy you could run into a named enemy and risk death. Diablo 3 you really can't die without trying / playing really sloppily until you reach the nightmare difficulty.

I will say one aspect of DS2 scares me however, and that would be the lack of soul farming. That was my bread and butter, i'm also terribly worried about one simple mechanic from the old games which, combined with this one, will make me run back to the start every time I have enough souls to level. Die once, drop all souls, die a second time, and the dropped souls are gone. In a game where you can only farm a limited amount of souls, this prospect is terrifying, unless you now keep the souls on death, which would be welcome but also kinda sad.

The graphics on dark souls however are amazing, I personally felt the bosses in Dark Souls reminded me much of Shadow of Collosus in many ways. It wasn't about gear, or level, or anything like that (althoguh both make it much MUCH easier) it's about strategy. When he swings this way dodge left, that way backwards ,if he raises his sword in the air run as far away as possible and pray to the 12 that you're lucky enough to not die. Even with the normal enemies it's about strategy. *Five enemies, can't take them all.. there's a ledge there, and 3 of them are lungers... I can probably take out one with my bow and arrow... pew pew pew one down, lungers, roll left, good two fell down the cliff, only a lunger and a shield guy left"

Most games just don't give that level of strategy or difficulty any more. You either have hordes of enemies who die at a single swipe from your weapon, or fall at a single bullet from your gun. You then have bosses who appear, only to give you a tooltip or a voiceover say "Hey it looks like the joints aren't that well armoured, maybe you can try attacking them!" "If you attack while its tail is up, it'll fire a laser at you!"

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Re: Gotta say

@wowfood

I'm kind of worried about these changes too. I'm picking up the game later this weekend so I guess I'll see.

The main idea of Dark Souls that really set it apart from other games is that dying is not a hindrance but a learning point. When you died in Dark Souls, there was no lasting damage. If you went the wrong way and died, losing your souls, well, you would try to go and get them back but if not then you tried another approach - no harm, at least nothing a bit of grinding wouldn't fix.

In DSII, there are two mechanics that work counter to this:

1. - When you die, your max health drops until you undo that with a human effigy.

2. - Decreased ability to farm souls through the magic disappearing enemy mechanic.

What that adds up to is dying becoming a hindrance, which is not the Dark Souls way. You should come back STRONGER (through experience) after you die a dozen times in an area, not weaker!!

Depending on the thresholds for (e.g) spawn-rate of effigies and how quickly enemies dissapers, as well as potential other options, such as using items to get the enemies to respawn (that would be nice) so you reset their counter the above points could be either a bit of a pain or largely irrelevant.

I guess I'll see!

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Re: Gotta say

What I'm kinda hoping is that the soul cashing in thing is done on an area basis. IE level 1 zone 1 you can collect a grand total of 5000 souls. If you die and lose those souls however, the count of the souls you picked up from there is reset. That way you don't run the risk of losing your souls forever, just... temporarily.

I can in some ways understand why they've done this. Some people who get stuck on Boss X, would grind souls for hours just so they could beat the boss with brute force, rather than skill. As for the health drop, I can only assume they've gotten rid of "alive" and "dead" mode. In DS if you died you dropped straight to 50% health as the max until you were revived again, which of course only lasted as long as you lived (which normally wasn't long since people could at that point invade your world)

I imagine that's what this replaces, but I can't be certain since I don't have the game yet.

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Ringu vs Pingu

Had to say I initially mis-read it and conjured up all sorts of weird imagery of little flightless birds attacking castles...

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You Died.

Get used to it.

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If you attack while its tail is up, it'll fire a laser at you!

That's quite funny, considering:

a - That's from a game released 17 years ago

b - The dodgy translation actually said "Attack while it's tail's up!" [sic], "It's gonna counterattack with its laser." with no implication of the former causing the latter.

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Re: If you attack while its tail is up, it'll fire a laser at you!

Thanks, it's been a few years since I last played (2011 i think) so I couldn't remember the exact quote. First time I played through I almost rage quit the game because of that. "I'm attacking while its tail is up and I KEEP DYING STILL!"

Friend explained the poor translation to me, easy sauce from then onwards >.>

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K
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Trollface

I'm a crap gamer and sore loser..

If I purchased this, I guarantee I would need a visit to A&E to get the glass removed from fist after putting it through the screen.

Oops.. now I'm running late for my anger management group!

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Re: I'm a crap gamer and sore loser..

I tried it for a bit and was more likely to fling the gamepad controller through the screen rather than anything else. Is it available on PC and has the irritating as hell control method been fixed? (Why review anything and not say what platform's it's available on or the RRP?) While you can get used to it after a while, the gamepad controller always felt entirely deficient.

While it's undoubtedly very pretty, I found in general that it felt very linear and forced. Yes, it may look like a forest but it's no different to a cave just with different wall textures, although if there's a chance of dying stupidly you won't often find invisible barriers to bounce against. Much of the time there didn't feel that there was any more depth than many much older adventure games, just a graphical skin on top of it all. A good looking graphical skin though that didn't detract from the game with ridiculous particle and glow effects.

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JLV
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Happy

wait is over.

Thanks for this review, but mostly txs to The Reg for turning me on to the original DS two years ago.

The first 2 Souls are really some of the most immersive games I've played.

Not just graphics or audio which are gorgeous. Immersive as in obsessing for days on one boss encounter. Researching wikidot or YouTube to see how to kill that boss, thinking "what if sprint left instead of right when he first comes at me?". Should I tank up for him? Strip down to loinclothes cuz it's a one hit kill & beat him on speed? Arrows? Magic?

The online advice will give you hints on what tactics have potential, but it's your guy doing the dying and your reflexes and playing style that have to prevail.

Souls levels are very deterministic, have the same enemies and same setup each time so you can obsess about what one little variable change will result in.

Despite what it sounds like these are not games for masochists but they appeal to and reward certain personalities.

Almost like coding :)

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