Dark Souls 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the legendary original, takes players on a challenging journey through the treacherous lands of Drangleic. Developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco, this installment inherits the difficulty while introducing new mechanics and environments. While not without its controversies, Dark Souls 2 manages to carve its own niche in the Souls franchise.
Varied but Simplified World:
The world of Drangleic is expansive, filled with diverse locations and hidden secrets. The game excels in providing a sense of exploration and discovery. From eerie forests to decrepit fortresses, each area offers unique challenges and lore waiting to be unraveled. The interconnectedness of the world however is not on the level it's predecessor's was.
Unrelenting Challenge is Back:
Dark Souls 2 keeps the franchise's hallmark difficulty intact. From the outset, players are thrust into a world that demands precision, adaptability, and strategic thinking. The foes are unyielding and death is a stern teacher. Conquering this harsh world rewards players with a sense of accomplishment that few games can match.
Deep and Improved Combat:
Combat in Dark Souls 2 benefits from refinements and expanded options. The variety of weapons, spells, and playstyles ensures a personalized experience. Learning enemy patterns, timing dodges, and mastering the intricate parry system are still central to survival. The boss battles, as expected, are epic clashes that demand both skill and strategy.
Controversial Design Choices:
While Dark Souls 2 introduced innovations, it also introduces some divisive changes. The game faced criticism for its strange enemy AI and behavior. The hitboxes and hit detection of attacks were completely off the mark in some cases (especially on enemy grab attacks). Additionally, the story and world-building, while intriguing, are not as intricately interconnected as in the original Dark Souls. Arguably FromSoftware's decision of tying the effectiveness of the players dodge rolls directly to a RPG stat is also a controversional one to this day.
Dark Souls 2 saw notable technical enhancements over its predecessor. Performance on various platforms was generally improved, addressing some of the issues faced in the original Dark Souls. These improvements contribute to a more stable and enjoyable gaming experience.
In conclusion, Dark Souls 2 is a solid entry in the Souls franchise that carries on the series' legacy of difficulty and intricate world design. While it introduces controversial design choices and may not achieve the same level as the original in many aspects, it offers a worthy challenge for fans of the series. With a 6/10 panda's on our scale, Dark Souls 2 proves itself as a satisfying and demanding but flawed adventure in the realm of Drangleic.