This masterpiece was released back on April 25th, 2014. Along with the Witcher 3, it is still one of this year’s the most played RPGs. That’s because it is so hard that most people still haven’t finished it yet. Alternatively, it’s so good some people feel the need to play it over and over again. I think it’s the latter. At least, that was the case for me. The first Dark Souls released in 2011 initially on consoles and later on PC (by popular demand). This game was groundbreaking in many ways unique and attracted a large fan base. It was hard, punishing, frustrating, but also very rewarding, so one must ask oneself if the second game comes close to recapturing that magic. We find out in this Dark Souls Review on GameGuideWorld.
I’m very pleased to say that it does and in some ways it is even better ((strange right) a sequel better than the original!). The PC port is far superior while the mechanics have been greatly improved. Some may argue that Dark Souls 2 is not as hard as the original, but I disagree. It is just as demanding, punishing and challenging as its 2011 predecessor. I managed to die 212 times during my first play-through and 114 times during my second one. The joy that you get when you manage defeat a boss is unlike any other. In fact, this is what really make the game great.
The story is rather mysterious, and the world is beautifully grim, like it came out of a Tim Burton movie, while the combat is excellent. When all of these elements come so perfectly together, as they do here, you cannot have a bad game. Before we get into details, let us take a look at the technical requirements of the game.
This is not a demanding game at all, and it can run on most devices. On my medium-tier rig, the game never went under 60 FPS (maximum FPS). My MSI GTX 980 graphics card was more than up to the task and so was my Intel Core i5-4690K processor, but you can make do with less without any problems at all. There was once a bug where weapon durability was directly tied to the frame rate (lower FPS meant better weapon durability) , but it was fixed some time ago.
These are the system requirements provided by the developers.
Minimum System Requirements
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2 GHz or Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo E8500 3.17 GHz
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT or ATI Radeon HD 5870
RAM: 2 GB
OS: Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8
HDD: 14 GB
Recommended System Requirements
CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 3.10 GHz or AMD A8 3870K 3.0 GHz
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 465 or higher, ATI Radeon HD 6870 or higher
RAM: 4 GB
OS: Windows 7 SP1
HDD: 14 GB
The game can be played by most modern PCs on the highest detail possible, but if you have lower than 30 FPS you should reduce the detail a little.
Dark Souls 2 lore is very detailed, while the narrative is great, but the story isn’t served on a silver plate, making some people suggest that it has no story. In order to truly understand what is actually going on in the game, you must fit the pieces of the puzzle together, but once you know where to start it will be easier. This is one of the more unique ways of telling a story and I absolutely loved it. When I first finished the game, I had no idea what was going on. What was the Queen talking about? What did she meant by “the king was less of a king then you might imagine”? It made no sense. Even after my second play-through I still didn’t understood everything. It took this Youtube video for me to finally understand.
Dark Souls 2 offers just a few clues as to where and when it takes place. It is rather ambiguous regarding the nature and timing of several key events, and is always hard to determine if the Drangleic castle is connected with the one named Lordran, or even to the world of Demon’s Souls.
Perhaps the most important thing that you should know before you start to play the game, is that the story isn’t linear, but thematic. You will find some clues that connects Drangleic to Lordran, such as an item similar to Lord Vessel, or the Old Dragonslayer boss that reminded me of Ornstein, but in the end nothing is for sure.
There are many other clues linking it to the original game, but I think that Dark Souls 2 is more about the repetition of the previous game’s ideas, but from a different perspective. If you go around looking for clues that confirms or disproves the connection to Lordran, then you might miss the point of the game.
Everything is chaotic, without a clear beginning or end, and all you know for certain is that you character lost his, or hers, soul because of a curse, and struggle to get it back. This is not a story driven RPG, but more of a game where you have to overcome one obstacle after another until you forget the reason for everything. If you pay close attention, you will notice that the Dark Souls 2 lore is all over the place.
Your character is drawn towards Drangleic through a desire to break the curse. In the opening scene, we see what may have once been your family withering over time, and then you fall into the vortex, arriving in Things Betwixt. Soon enough, you main purpose is to seek the king, but as you progress through the game, you will notice that every NPC systematically loses their sense of purpose, and they even forget why they came to this land in the first place. Maybe this is the point of the game, to make you forget about that initial purpose and to make you wonder why are you here in the first place. If that was indeed their plan, then all I can say is “Bravo!”. They have definitely succeeded in confusing the life out of me. I’m not even joking, after one difficult encounter after another, I totally forgot about the king and his soul, and I just wanted to succeed. No idea why, just wanted to succeed. It was during a conversation with a friend, via Facebook, that I was reminded about the king. He asked me if I reached him yet, and I replied with “What king? Oh that one!”
The world is dark and confusing and fits perfectly with the story.
The Combat System
It is one of the most difficult game ever, ok maybe not as difficult as the original one was, but close enough. The good thing is that the controls are very responsive, with great dodging and parrying mechanics, while the Dark Souls weapons have a lot of weight behind them. You will feel every single hit you receive or deliver.
Let me describe you a fight scene and tell you about my reaction. I was going through a forest, close to the base camp, filled with enemies. They were easy enough, so after I killed them I got a bit of a “God Complex”, thinking I’m invincible (“why does everybody say that this game is hard? I’m breezing through it!”). I soon reached a clearing inhabited by a White Knight resting by a tree. I thought to myself “Time to die my friend”, and rushed it, two-handed sword in hand. I hit him once and rolled back. He got up and knocked some sense into me with only two blows. Needles to say, I got angry, very angry. Redid the forest, regained my lost souls and attacked him again, more careful this time. I rolled away from his attacks and tried to counter to the best of my abilities, but again, two hits and I was counting daisies. For the third time, I made sure I have enough healing, my “Estus Flask” was full, and went back for another try. This time around, the fight went much better. I dodged every attack and landed some superb blows. The last hit, was by far the best. I moved behind him and delivered a heavy hit to the head (even pressed the mouse button harder) that made me scream out loud: “Ouch! Don’t care who you are, that’s got to hurt!”. And, you know what, that wasn’t even a boss, just a normal NPC and I got to meet many others just like him throughout the game.
This story doesn’t even entirely shows how hard and unforgiving the game really is. That was one of the easier fights, and just you wait until you encounter the Dark Souls bosses. It took me 10 tries and lots of tears to get pass the first one, but to be fair, took me more tries to get to him. I love the way Dark Souls 2 lets you build up a lot of self confidence one moment, and the next slaps you back to reality.
The game’s currency is the soul. You get souls by defeating enemies and they are used to improve your character’s stats, as well as buying new gear and items. When you die, you drop all your souls, so you must retrace your steps in order to get them back. Also if you die again without retrieving them, they will be gone forever, so try to spend them as often as you can.
If you are looking for a complete Darks Souls 2 Walkthrough on how to beat all bosses, they you might want to check out the video below.
Conclusion of our Dark Souls Review
Dark Souls 2 is massive, smart and very rewarding sequel to one of the best games of all time. It’s packed with tense fights and clever challenges, that will make you keep coming back for more. It is the only RPG game that will transform agony and pain into 60 hours of pure fun. Every fight feels like an epic “Game of Thrones” duel, but with greater benefits.
Are you ready to embark on the toughest adventure of your life, in order to regain your lost soul? Then browse over to Amazon.com and buy your own copy of Dark Souls 2. The standard edition will set you back $39,99, while the collector’s edition costs $41,16.
If you still crave from even more Dark Souls, then you should buy the Scholar of the First Sin version for $49,99, also available at Amazon.com. It comes with the three critically acclaimed DLC chapters, Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King and Crown of the Ivory King, as well as a new NPC character, new events, and augmented item descriptions for an expanded story.