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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

Dark Souls II Preview

Nick_Tan By:
Nick_Tan
06/20/13
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action RPG 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER Namco Bandai 
DEVELOPER FromSoftware 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
T Contains Blood and Gore, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

"If only I could be so grossly incandescent!"

Whenever a person tells me that Dark Souls is easy, I have the sudden urge to give that person a calculus test. Because all I hear is the ravings of a crazy, albeit godlike, person whose thoughts I shall never understand. Woe is me, one who hath not the reflexes of ye most hardcore of the hardcore. Slugging through a level dying more than that horse that gets beaten is not my first choice what it comes to an enjoyable experience, but that doesn't mean I don't respect it.
 
In fact, I don't even need to give out a calculus test; all I need to do is hand over a copy of Dark Souls II. If you thought Dark Souls or its predecessor Demon's Souls was already a blistering, controller-smashing experience, then you know where the devious minds of From Software are going with this. Sure, a part of this sequel's design is to make the game more accessible and more easily digestible, but that only means they feel justified balancing all that with levels and bosses that make light of the word "challenging."


 
For instance, you may now warp between bonfires at any time, effectively lowering the amount of backtracking and padded-out traversal throughout the world. Several healing items have been added, like the Aromatic Ooze which increases attack and Life Gems which heal a solid amount of health over time. Dual-wielding weapons is much easier this time around, and you can now hold three weapons/shields instead of the normal two.
 
On the other hand, the artificial intelligence is far more reactive to your actions and the development team has made a fervent overhaul to the enemies so as to rid them of any AI loopholes that may have existed before. So if you think you can simply hang back and munch on a Twilight Herb, you'll probably have your face full of sword by the time you swallow. And just to twist the knife a little more, you can't chain parries or backstabs anymore.


 
Then there are the bosses, and chiefly one in particular called the Mirror Knight, a towering silvery figure who can dish out a lightning strike, a mirror than can create clones, and a overhead strike that almost comes out of nowhere. Now, I'm sure within the week of the game's launch, there will be a thread in some forum entitled "The Mirror Knight isn't that hard, guys!", but the Namco Bandai rep playing the hands-off demo mentioned that he had a success rate of about 1 in 13 tries. Sorry, I mean 0 in 13 tries. I just wanted to give you false hope. (I was told Dark Souls fans will laugh at that.)
 
Dark Souls II will run us through the gauntlet on March 2014 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
More GR previews for this game:
Dark Souls II preview posted on 01/30/14.
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