Dark Souls invaded our worlds in 2011, and stunned us with an immensely deep and organic experience. It showcased one the deepest mechanics, lustful combat and gritty atmospheres ever seen. Most notably, it represented a vibe so dark and nerving in its nature, that it even invaded people dreams (or nightmares). I’ve been haunted by some Dark Souls instances in my sleep myself.
With Dark Souls 2 announced quite a while back, along with a trailer, the mystery surrounding what we’d expect with Dark Souls 2 has been lurking around. Then there is the very popular argument surrounding the terms ‘broad’ ‘openly accessible’ ‘easy to play’ ‘game for all’ with Dark Souls 2. Would that have been a disaster to the series or what! Dark Souls is a true test of your patience, and constantly tests the very skills you have been honing as you play on. It is also one of the most genuinely rewarding game I’ve ever played. The sheer satisfaction one gets after overcoming a challenge in Dark Souls is something deep and special.
FromSoftware, the developers of the Souls series, have finally unveiled 12 minutes of gameplay footage, and shed light on all that was dark about Dark Souls 2. From the initial looks of it, all the doubts I had about Dark Souls 2 being more general in its appeal have been obediently discarded. FromSoftware Director Yui Tanimura and Namcobandai global producer Tak Miyazoe took us through the gameplay footage. Through their walkthrough, one aspect of Dark Souls 2 Yui Tanimura was vocal about, was that feeling of tension, emotion, stress, nervousness, unsettlement and pressure one goes through when roaming around the worlds of Dark Souls. “We want to maintain this aspect as we know that that’s what so special about the game.”, translates Miyazoe.
The first thing we notice from the footage, is the vastly improved next-gen graphics. Particle and lighting effects have been heavily upgraded. Wind effects play a part in the physics, they have effect on the armour cloth you’re sporting. Environment textures have been improved too. A new addition to the mechanics is the Torchlight. You can light a torchlight from a fire (similar to Tomb Raider) and use it in pitch black dungeons to provide much needed vision. Mind you, this severely limits your effectiveness in combat, as one of your arms is wielding the torchlight, and that leaves only the other arm available for attack purposes.
Enemy AI has evolved. “Enemies react differently in different situations and find the best counters possible to your attack.” says Tanimura. In the footage, when you try and attack this fat golem like creature in the back, he senses it does a back sided tumble to counter your backstab. Enemies are also capable to throwing their weapons at you. From one instance in the footage, the enemy slurps his axe at you from a distance to hurt you. Enemies in Dark Souls 2 are definitely more lethal and effective in killing you. Be prepared to die, a lot, if you aren’t already doing so in Demon/Dark Souls. There’s a reason why the tagline of Dark Souls 2 is called “Go beyond death.” The one clear motive it wants to portray on you, is its intention to kill you, one time too many.
A minor change I noticed, the “Traverse the white light” portals are now called “Enter the mist”, not that it matters much. The feeling of tension is more intense in its nature than Dark Souls 1. The environments are more interactive this time. The use of “Three Dimensional Exploration” is embedded at the very core of traversing through the game and exploring its lands, as Tanimura points out. Enemies break through walls if they sense a hostile presence, they ride down chariots to run you over. You’ll also be dying in ways you have no control off (obviously there will be workarounds). Ok, that was a bit over the top, but yes, be prepared to die when you don’t expect to, and once you’re in, you have no option thereof. In the footage, there is an instance when a dragon destroys the very footbridge you’re crossing to reach a distant cliff. What can you do then? Nothing. You just fall off, and, die. You have no choice.
The feeling of immense fist crunching satisfaction when overcoming a difficult boss prevails even more so than it did in Dark Souls 1, atleast as claimed by Tanimura. That sweet “YES!” feeling is one that you’ll relive in Dark Souls 2.
There’s always been something mysterious about the Dark Souls plot and its narrative, or lack thereof. While it does have a deep storyline, its not delivered to you directly, like in most games. You’re supposed to put every vague piece into the puzzle, and figure out the plot on your own. The NPC dialogues are poetical and riddle-like, which gives you vision but blurs it with mist. Having said that, Dark Souls 2 will be telling its story the same way its predecessor did, only this time, expect it to be MORE mysterious and vague than ever. One always ends up having a different interpretation of the plot altogether compared to other players, expect to be doing the same.
Not much has been said about online play, only that you will still be loosely connected to other players. The HUD has gone through minor functional changes, allowing more control over your inventory and efficient equipment management. Most of the HUD upgrades have been based on the feedback received by From Software from players of the series.
Summing up, it seems Dark Souls 2 is going to be a true Dark Souls Version 2.0, with improving in almost every aspect. Its good to see that From Software has not fallen prey to ramblers about the game being too difficult and inaccessible to a large demograph of gamers. Most of these claims are false and made by people too lazy to spend some real time with the game. Precisely, the junk food culture-ists, who’ll only consume whats spoon-fed, or wont consume at all. Dark Souls is actually everything but a difficult game. It is difficult because you’ve disbanded the idea of a game being like this altogether in your mind, and refuse to move past that fact. Dark Souls requires only one thing, and taking in retrospect, life does too. That thing is patience. Have patience, O’ Undead, or Go Beyond Death.
What do you think about the upcoming Dark Souls 2? Will be be getting it? Have your expectations been fulfilled from the reveal? Talk to us!