Tag Archives: Dark Souls II

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin review

What makes a good game? For me, it’s being left to explore, to create my own adventures and take the game at my own pace. In some respects, I’ve just described what it’s like being in the playground at school, you decide where to go, who to play with and what games to play – Dark Souls II very much has this playground vibe, with one distinct difference – its playground is full of bullies only too happy to kick you to the curb at any opportunity.

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Dark Souls II is wonderfully paced, although at first, I hated every moment. I was lost, out of my depth and feeling like unfair enemies were cheating me. Why did I feel like this? I can only put it down to the smoke and mirrors that some games use to make you, the player, feel like a bad ass. Strip away unbeatable combos and aim assist, give control back with little to no handholding or directional hints, and we become lost, disorientated and quickly overwhelmed. It was only after persevering with Dark Souls II and learning how to respect its two-button combat system that I began to appreciate its beauty and elegantly balanced difficulty.

In Dark Souls II, everything you achieve is exactly that… an achievement. Get through the entirety of the game (which I am still yet to do) and you really will have earned your progress and achievements. So far, I’m just over 30 hours in – I still have plenty to see and do – one thing is for sure, you need to put in a serious amount of hours to see and do everything in Dark Souls II.

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I’ve died, I’ve sworn, I’ve almost given up but Dark Souls II has taken ahold of me. It’s addictive in its exploration – finding new things in areas you thought you’d completely explored or discovering a new enemy that you just have to beat to discover what’s beyond the door it’s guarding. The trick it employs is not giving you any idea of what you are meant to do or where you are meant to go – what I mean by this, is that in giving you complete freedom to discover and puzzle solve, Dark Souls II hooks you into its world and sucks you into becoming addicted to finding a way through its increasingly difficult odds.

This is the first time a Souls game has released on the Xbox One, Dark Souls II originally released on the Xbox 360 in March of last year, Scholar of the First Sin includes all of the previously released DLC and a lick of HD polish that makes the game run smoother and ups the resolution. As you might have gathered, unlike most sword and sorcery games, Dark Souls II cannot be stumbled through with mindless button mashing. If you’re clumsy with your attacks, you will be punished – death is a case of when and not if.

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You are an undead warrior, cursed to clutch on to your existence by feasting on the souls of others. You can claw back your humanity by using a Human Effigy, but these are limited and should you die, you’ll respawn at your last bonfire, back to your undead self and with a health bar that reduces every time you end up on the wrong side of a sword.

These bonfires are also used to fast travel, this is particularly useful if you need to spend any collected souls – you see, it’s not just your health bar you lose at death, any held souls are dropped at the point that you met your demise – fail to recover these in your next life and they will be lost forever – but it’s ok, you can just farm the enemies that respawn every time you use a bonfire right? Wrong. You can chip away at the enemies of Dark Souls II, killing them over and over will eventually remove them from the game world, making progress possible even in the hardest of circumstances.

PvP

You might feel alone in Dark Souls II, and while there are PvP and PvE events, I didn’t really experience these half as much as I would have expected. A dedicated matchmaking menu would have been much more to my liking. On occasion, other player spirits invaded my world, these always happened at the worst time. You can also call on player spirits to help you, or read the many messages inscribed in the floor that offer advice or insight at what lies ahead – you can even add your own.

At the heart of Dark Souls II is a stamina bar that determines whether you can block, roll or attack – with no stamina, you are pretty much dead in the water. Blocking stops the bar from refilling, it’s a great way to make you manage your attacks, blocks and rolls – discipline is a must – an enemy with a small amount of health left can still put you on your arse and defeat you, so resist going for a flurry of attacks and play smart. To make matters worse, your weapons also degrade – I never said this was going to be easy!

Castle

Progress through Dark Souls II can seem like you are trying to walk up an escalator that is going down, persevere and you will eventually get to the top. The sense of achievement is more rewarding than most of the other games out there today. I respect that many will find little to love at the fight mechanics of Dark Souls and how it punishes you for anything other than flawless combat; equally, many will find a challenging and rewarding experience.

The best thing about this game is the moment everything clicks. You might wonder if it will ever come, and if you don’t learn from your mistakes it won’t. I did learn and while the game didn’t become easier, I felt like I had a grasp of how to tackle each situation, and what attributes and equipment I needed to rank up first – it was a joyous moment and one of the most invigorating moments I’ve had gaming.

Scholar of the First Sin will give you a rough and tough ride, if you like to be slapped about and punished for putting a foot wrong then this is certainly worth your time… you masochist!

Thanks to Xbox for supplying TiX with a download code

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Dark Souls II re-release gets new trailer

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It’s creeping up on us,  the release date for the sacrificial lamb in the Dark Souls series. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is coming out in April and you know what that means, right?

That’s right, there’ll be a slow trickle of fantastic trailers coming out in the lead up to the release and below is the next in line.

Including the original Dark Souls II, in glorious 1080p and 60fps, plus the available three ‘Crowns’ DLC, The Lost Crowns: Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King and Crown of the Ivory King, all bundled up in what essentially is a game of the year edition in Scholar of the First Sin.

If you haven’t got Dark Souls II, what better introduction could you have to the story of the curse bearer in the world of Drangleic?

In Scholar of the First Sin, you’ll also have to face the vicious new black phantom Forlorn that can invade at any time and anywhere.

Need some more convincing? The trailer is below, and long time Dark Souls II players will notice a couple of spoilers in the trailer, be a smartypants and let us know if you do.

 

 

Dark Souls II DLC

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As if the regular obstacles, enemies, and bosses presented in Dark Souls II were not enough to cause gamers to cry for their mommies; FromSoftware today unleashes Crown of the Sunken King the first chapter in it’s The Lost Crowns DLC trilogy for DARK SOULS II. Each chapter is specifically designed to enhance, challenge, and bring players to their knees as they experience the peril that is awaiting them in the DARK SOULS II The Lost Crowns trilogy.

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Stalwart fans of DARK SOULS II will want to immediately head over to the Xbox Live Marketplace to purchase and download this newest chapter in the unyielding Dark Souls franchise. Players that are brave enough to take on this arduous journey will find new environments, enemies, traps, and bosses to conquer as they embark on a journey to reclaim the crowns that Drangleic’s King Vendrick once owned. Crown of the Sunken King features an entirely different world within the DARK SOULS II universe, where stepped pyramids span a vast underground cavern and death lays in wait around every corner.

DARK SOULS II’s Crown of the Sunken King DLC is available today on the Xbox Live Marketplace. 

Creepy Dark Souls II Trailer

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The newest trailer (embedded below) entitled “Prologue Part 1″ is voiced by an old hag woman with a face much creepier then her voice. The woman explains that you will become something not quite human, and you’ll have to devour souls. Put simply, the main character is cursed, but the exact nature of the threat is still unknown.

If you’re into emotional storytelling, challenging gameplay, and disgusting bosses then Dark Souls II will be a terrifying yet enjoyable experience for you.

Dark Souls II Collector’s Edition Miniature Weapon Set

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Here in the UK there is a Special Edition version of Dark Souls II which includes an authentic cloth game map, 30cm Warrior Knight figurine, collectible art book and the game sound track. However the Japanese have a special Special Edition which includes which includes a miniature weapons set. Check out the video below.

Dark Souls II is released for Xbox 360 on 14th March this year. Keep your eyes on ThisisXbox.com for more news in the build up to released and with any luck, an exciting review from one of the team.

 

Dark Souls II Hands On For Eurogamer Expo

 

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For the first time, Dark Souls II will be playable in the UK at this weeks Eurogamer Expo from Earls Court.

For those who are brave enough to take on the infamous Mirror Knight challenge, which will take place at the Namco Bandai Games booth, inevitable death will greet the losers and the winners will be rewarded in the shape of pride and prizes.

The rules are simple: Each player will have 20 minutes to find and take on the Mirror Knight.* The first person who manages to beat him, will not only become the pride of the whole Eurogamer Expo, they will also walk away with the following Dark Souls II Mirror Knight prize**:

Win or Lose, anyone playing the demo will also be given an A3 Dark Souls II poster to anyone that plays the game whilst stocks last.

Dark Souls II Collectors Edition Revealed

 

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Namco Bandai have today revealed the details for Dark Souls II Collector’s Edition and Black Armour Pre-Order Edition.

Offered in limited quantities and while supplies last, both the Collector’s Edition and Black Armour Edition of DARK SOULS II contain items that are sure to please fans of DARK SOULS; a game that has been lauded by critics and fans to deliver one of the most challenging experiences in videogame history. Dark Souls II  is scheduled for release in Europe on March 14, 2014 for Xbox 360.

A new trailer was shown at the Tokyo Games Show today

 

 

Dark Souls II – Competition & Screenshots

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We all love a good competition and today Namco Bandai Games Europe announced that a DARK SOULS™ II shield design contest began today on the game’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/darksouls.

Channel your inner medieval craftsman and create the best shield design; showing off your skills as a warrior artist. Then, submit your works of art, and watch the votes tally up from every corner of the globe from fellow Dark Souls II fans.

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The submission and voting period for shield designs will begin on April 15thand run through May 13th. Beginning May 14th no further submissions will be taken and the contest enters into a “voting only” phase until May 20th. On May 20th the shield designs that receive the most fan votes will be submitted for a final round of judging by the Dark Souls II development team at FromSoftware in Japan. The FromSoftware development team will select the final six winning shield designs to be included within the final Dark Souls II game. The winners will be announced at San Diego Comic Con taking place from July 18th through the 21st.

(Oh and by the way – I will be at Comic Con (again) this year so will see the announcement live. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!)

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The six lucky winners will be able to engage in battle with their friends online while proudly bearing the shield of their own design. Other players will also be able to carry the shields designed by their compatriots into battle.

How to enter the Dark Souls II Shield Design Contest:

●      Become a fan on the official Dark Souls II Facebook page @ www.facebook.com/darksouls
●      Check out the Shield Design Facebook application
●      Download the blank shield template
●      Create up to three original masterpieces of heraldic design
●      Submit your finished designs via Facebook before May 20, 2013

If you need some help designing your shield, check out some of the new screenshots also released today below.