Review: Dark Souls II: SOTFS [PS3]

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My Trip Through Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin [PS3]

Dark Souls II is the sequel to the awesomely difficult, dark fantasy, action RPG, Dark Souls. Again made by From Software but this time without Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of Demon’s and Dark Souls. He was busy making Bloodborne. The result was a mixture of ideas from Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.

*Disclaimer* I will be referencing previous souls games. mostly Dark Souls.

I wanted a physical copy on PC but apparently there were none released in the states, physical copies that is. You can get it digital but I wanna be able to touch and feel, and have sit on my shelf, what I pay for. I guess I’m kinda old school in that way but that’s just the way I am. So I settled for the PS3 version. At my local used game store they had the Scholar of the First Sin Edition for the same price as the base game so I bought it.

It’s not actually the Scholar of the First Sin Edition.

My copy on PS3 says SOTFS but its actually the original DX9 DSII just bundled with the DLC. The actual SOTFS edition is only on PS4 XBone and PC. Its DX11 and a few things have been changed in the design and levels and stuff… False advertising much? They should have just called it… blah blah edition, I don’t know. Maybe it’s my fault for not looking it up before hand?

Anyways the game overall is the same basic formula as the previous games. Explore areas, killing enemies, punching treasure chests, talking to npcs, looking for bonfires and fighting bosses at the end of the area. Then, you move on to the next area. The story, I’ve heard, is similar to that of Dark Souls but to be honest I don’t really know… All I know is you come to this land (for some reason), your cursed (for some reason), and every one says to go fight the king of this land (for some reason), I’m guessing for a way to become un-cursed. But these games have never been about deep story lines. Its about the gameplay. The story is there, subtly and If I wanted to I could look it up to understand it better. Chances are if your reading this you already know about storytelling in the souls games so I’m not going to explain it anymore than that.

So it’s similar to the previous games but there are some changes,

for example, you have to go to the Emerald Herald to level up your character, similar to Demon’s souls. This is why you have access to fast travel from the start. It makes sense. It got some criticism from people about making the game easier but you can’t expect people to travel ALL the way back to Majula just to level up, especially later in the game. In Dark souls it made sense to keep fast travel for later because you could level up at any bonfire.

Also, I like the way estus flasks are handled, the more shards you find the more estus you have to use, instead of kindling every bonfire in the game to get more than you’ll ever need. I like the smaller amount of estus in this game because you also have healing items that you can farm. It’s like a mixture of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.

Another example is dodging, I felt like it was much easier compared to Demons and Dark Souls. Easier but not simpler. In those games you couldn’t wear heavy armor and be nimble… well not easily. You had to wear light armor. Which is fine just not my preferred playstyle. In DS2 you can wear heavy armor and still be pretty agile because of the VITALITY and ADAPTIBILITY stats and the fact that there are more than just fat rolling and rolling, based on these stats. VIT effects your equipment weight, so as long as you keep it below 70% you’ll be fine. ADT, I mean ADP or whatever determines your agility… which determines the amount of invincibility frames during your rolling animation. So yes, easier for players like me who like heavyish armor and still want to be able to roll without smacking my back against the ground and getting up wishing that no body saw that, but a bit more involved stats wise.

I Hate those stupid witches at the beginning.

I felt like they are unnecessary. They just taunt you about being cursed, er undead or whatever, and how you will loose your souls over and over again.

Sword and shield is my favorite way to play the souls games. Why are there so few shields with 100% physical damage reduction? Is this a way they tried to make the game “harder”? Are they trying to Keep people from hiding behind their shields? Once I was able to buy a shield from Maughlin the Armorer that had 100% physical reduction I never changed it.

Four ring slots allows for more varied builds. But I think they had it right in Dark souls with only 2 slots.

I Picked a knight as my class and holy crap, no attunement slots without spending a bunch of souls to raise the really low starting stat of attunement. I looked it up, you need attunement to be at 10 to get your first slot. Knights start with 4. I’m not going to spend the souls to level that 6 times just for one spell.

Endurance seemed to have a limit to how effective and worth it was to raise it. My character was level 110ish and raising END only raised my stamina by 1 point?? 20,00ish souls for 1 stamina point? Not worth it for me. Apparently endurance has a soft cap at 20.

This time, you can be invaded at anytime…

even when hollow, even when resting at a bonfire! That’s not my cup of tea. Granted, you have a significantly lower chance of being invaded while basking in the comforting glow of the flames but still. The only safe zone I know of is Majula, the hub town where all the npcs live.

Farming upgrade items is a pain. I’m looking at you titanite chunks. If you use up what the game gives you (from chests and stuff) farming enemies that have a 5% chance of dropping sucks… (CONFIRMED). Later in the game you’ll be able to buy chunks. So PRO TIP! Stick with one weapon when upgrading. I know its hard your first playthrough but it will make life easier.

The devs like to throw bunches of enemies at you through the level. Reliance on multiple enemies at once to make the game harder sucks. The game is meant for one-on-one combat so if you rely on the lock on, its going to be infuriating for you, but like everything else in this game, patience and taking your time, planning out your moves and not be greedy goes a long way. The place that made me write this is the area before the boss Velstadt, The Royal Aegis, in the Undead Crypt. You have to kill 6 big enemies everytime you wanna try the boss again, and you can’t just run past them, there are to guys right in front of the fog gate. Oh by the way, the enemies seem to endlessly chase you down when you run by them. I’ve tried it a few times and when your character is doing the little walk through the fog animation the enemies catch up and hit you out of the animation and you die. You just have to suck it up and kill them all.

I’m not sure I understand poise in this game. I’ve hit smaller enemies with my strong attack, taking 95% of their hp away, and they still attack me without flinching. I’m not swinging a little dagger around. Its a great sword!

I swear the hit boxes are broken. Too many times you will get hit while rolling away, even when their weapon doesn’t touch you… Plus the 360 tracking overhead attacks some enemies have is just insane. It forces you to roll to avoid. You can’t strafe to avoid some attacks. I like to circle strafe around enemies and sometimes i get hit by touching their weapon while they are winding up their attack. Kind hard to explain…

Shortcuts shortcuts shortcuts!

There’s a lot of them. I just complained about the area before the boss in the undead crypt but there are some shortcuts that take you straight to the boss from the bonfire! Also, some levels have bonfires really close to one another, too close in my opinion. Maybe there’s too many. In Dark souls, areas had one bonfire, maybe two, and one that didn’t have any! In Dark Souls II there’s an area with like five!

There are too many humanoid huge knight bosses with huge powerful weapons that you would think would be slow and easy to dodge but they usually move as fast as you. If you go into it melee with a shield you wont have any time to attack. you’ll always be trying to regain stamina after blocking attacks. Again, you really need to dodge. Good thing its easier but it Kinda makes tanky characters obsolete. PRO TIP! DOOOOOOOODGE!

Early bosses? Easy. Later bosses? (Some)Stupid difficult, because of some of my complaints about combat. I’m getting sick of it. I have to kinda push my self at the end here. Maybe I just need a break for a while and come back fresh?

Wow that was A LOT of complaining but please don’t think that I hate this game. Quite the opposite. I like it a lot, it’s just different. A different that I can accept. It’s a good game, just not as great as it could have been. I still really enjoyed it. Now lets talk about some of the things I liked about the game!

I really liked the worldwide death counter/personal death counter when offline. It was interesting to know. The areas were fun to explore and I really liked to Mild Mannered Pate and Creighton story line.

Above all, it was more Dark Souls.

-Wickk

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