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Dark Souls II First Look

Developer: From Software | Publisher: Namco Bandai
Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: Action/RPG

Release Date: Spring 2014

Dark Souls is back and this time it is even harder. Yes, you read that right. One of the hardest and most frustratingly difficult games of this generation is getting upgraded to kick your butt even more. To laugh at the games journalists who would say otherwise, FROM Software put together a nice E3 demo with a boss so difficult that even the US team members from Namco Bandai had only beat him 4 times during all of E3.

Though FROM Software was not at the Private Meeting Room that Namco Bandai had setup, we were able to meet with some of the localization team. They pointed out difficulty, improved AI, the new engine, character generation, dual weapons, and persistent bonfire warping..

As I mentioned above, this game is hard. FROM Software was quoted, out of context, stating the game would be easier than the last Dark Souls. This angered the community and backlash starting pouring in over the “tubes of the Interwebs.” Fear not my fellow readers. This game is hard. During E3 2013, only one member of the press was able to defeat the boss of the demo--the elusive Mirror Knight. This boss can kill you in three hits if you aren’t careful.

The reason for the greater difficulty is due to the new improved AI. In the original Dark Souls, enemies would stand there and go through preset motions. This is not the case in Dark Souls II. Here, players will now face bosses and regular monsters who will try to trick you and go after you when you are most vulnerable.  For example, if you are standing near an enemy and you try to pop your health potion, they will charge in to strike. This means that you have to treat each enemy encounter as you would a real life human opponent. To make matters worse, some enemies will play dead, let you pass, and then come strike you from behind when you least expect it. FROM Software you are evil but we love you!

Dark Souls II is built upon a new game engine that was built by FROM Software and is optmized for the PC Platform first. It has greatly improved lighting and shadow effects. We were shown your character picking up a torch and walking down a giant staircase. Though this is still a last generation title, it looks very good and much improved over Dark Souls.

In Dark Souls, players chose what class they wanted to be and then gave themselves stats. This system is now done away with in Dark Souls II. In its place, you will not select your type of character. Instead, you will plug in the stats you want and a character class will be given to you. Some may be angered over this change but I feel it makes more sense.

Finally, there is true dual weapon wielding in Dark Souls II. Players can equip two weapons and swing them independently or together at enemies. Remember, by using two weapons, you have no shield. This leaves you open to more attacks and can be a much more dangerous and aggressive play style for a game that is not forgiving of mistakes. If you are playing co-op, you might want to use a shield with both hands. The system also allows for you to go completely defensive by putting both hands behind your shield for the ultimate in defense.

Finally, we learned about the Persistent Bonfire Warping. In Dark Souls, there were several bonfires that did not allow warping. This is fixed and every Bonfire in Dark Souls II will allow for it.

Dark Souls II leaps onto your PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in March of 2014. This time around, the PC version is the lead SKU and the PC version releases at the same time as the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions do.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 06/14/13

Screenshots for Dark Souls II First Look

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