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IMO: Dark Souls 2 (PC)

Patrick Webb / May 12, 2014 at 8:30 AM / Gaming, Opinions


I am scared, incredibly and uncontrollably scared. No game in the history of games has created such a feeling of dread, a feeling of hopelessness, and eventual gratifying sense of victory.

“Surely you have seen for yourself… the pain and suffering that fills this world!… You fool. Don’t you understand? No one wishes to go on…” -King Allant from Demon’s Souls.

I could talk about the series, but for sake of time and length I will keep this specifically focused on Dark Souls 2. There is enough content, lore, gameplay, and deaths to fill up a series of George R.R. Martin novels.

Praise the…Burning Bodies!

Let’s begin our journey. At present, I have 77 hours into Dark Souls 2, 40 of those hours were getting accustomed to the “brutal-ness” of the game. I had played Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, but had not touched the series since 2011. From the onset I knew I was playing a From Software title. From the opening cut-scene to the character creation, oh and the three times I died in between. It was infuriating, but I loved it. This game requires a tenacity that breeds cult followings. If you do not play these games, you will not understand the allure. It is required for you to engage the gameplay, embrace its hardcore nature, and eventually bask in the sense of achievement only Dark Souls can provide.

Majula, the main hub-a safe zone created to traverse the world and to upgrade yourself and purchase gear- is the single greatest hub ever created. My old favorite was the Normandy from Mass Effect, which is fantastic, but it does not compare to Majula. The music, the sense of dread contrasted with beautiful scenery, make it my favorite by far.

Two Sickles Are Better Than One My Mom Always Says

My first playthrough has been on a Soldier, currently level 98. I have an Ultra Greatsword and the Pursuer’s Shield with Drangleic armor (all buffed with shards of course)-the name comes from the kingdom of Drangleic, this is where your adventure unfolds. Presently, my last boss encounter was the Executioner’s Chariot. A great two-staged boss battle that took me eight tries to complete by myself. I enjoy the help from others from time to time, but Dark Souls 2 gives the player so much respect, in terms of finding your own way and fleshing out the story etc… that I feel the need to give some back. I do not Wiki or YouTube strategies to concur hard spots, I use the games death mechanic to learn from each encounter. Many encounters require this mindset. For instance {Spoiler Ahead} the boss I just mentioned has skeletons that need to be killed while hopping from alcove to alcove in search of enchanters who summon more skeletons. There are two of them, I only thought there was one. Once this is learned then you have to figure out to pull a lever to drop a gate to knock the chariot apart and to commence the boss fight. The boss hits extremely hard so as a Soldier I learned I needed to go into the boss battle light (weight plays a pivitol role), and use dodge mechanics to beat the boss. This is one of a thousand different encounters that encourage the player to die, regroup, learn, re-strategize, and eventually conquer. The game is in no way unfair-except for the possible environmental hazards that sometimes plague your movement. I threw out an ungodly amount of F-Bombs, but never held the game at fault, it was always, and I mean always my doing.

No game treats its players this way. The last game, besides the ones in the series, was the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Minor backlash from the public regarding the  insane difficulty early on, CDPROJEKT RED toned the difficulty back and gave a proper tutorial. This is not the direction From Software chose to take, either fight your way through like a big boy or girl or simply pout on the couch drinking some milk and never experience one of the best games ever made.

At one point I thought Dark Souls was unfairly too difficult. But I was missing the point. Today’s games, as great as they are, hand carry players through an open world/linear story. This is fine-games like Mass Effect, Journey, the Witcher 2, and Tomb Raider (to name a few) do a great job at this. Dark Souls 2 is not that type of game. If you are on the fence about the game please start it up, play an hour or so-which you will die and you will get frustrated, but sit back and take it in. I promise you will eventually gain headway and experience… until something else kicks your ass. Then you will have to regroup and learn the next challenge. Dark Souls 2 is a set of challenges, that gives players vague, but fair, means to combat these challenges and eventually be victorious. Every small single encounter is a victory, relish in the sense of defeat as you would in the sense of victory. Without defeat there could never be victory.

We have a great review by our amazing author Stephen. Let us know what you thought of your playthrough, and what you think of the series in general.Cheers y’all!

 


Patrick Webb

Has a strong affinity for everything fantasy related. Plays Indie, RPGs, and shooters. Favorite games are the Witcher 2, Diablo, Journey, GW2, and Hotline Miami. Oh, and I'm Batman!!