People have called Dark Souls a “new phenomena” in gaming. People laud its challenge, its ambiguity, it’s fairness and its stakes. In fact, people are calling it the most difficult game ever, too hard for the casuals. Such talk, it dissuaded me from giving the game a shot. When I hear about people throwing controllers or snapping discs, I just think about all the things I have that are better to do than be mad at a video game. I honestly don’t know why I finally caved. I think it’s because I didn’t really have anything better to do.
Now, having played Dark Souls 2, I can say that a lot of what people say is in fact true. There’s definitely stakes to your actions. The story is almost completely ambiguous (although it’s definitely there!). As far as the challenge? Well, it’s definitely not an easy game. But where people miss the boat is thinking that this is some sort of new phenomena is where people miss the boat. This is simply itterration on games from days past. And if you could hang with those games, you can hang with Dark Souls 2.
Sure, sometimes–say after I was unable to reclaim lots of lost souls due to accidentally walking off a cliff or some complete cheese–I was frustrated. Part of it is because the fairness of the game is something I think is a bit exaggerated because there are plenty of phantom hitboxes, geometry issues, and plenty of instances where the game breaks its own rules. I suppose, though, that these instances are rare enough that I at least understand what people are talking about when they call the game fair. Most situations are solvable, when approached from the right direction (or directions, since there are often many ways to accomplish things). Thus, I rarely felt that the game was beyond my ability.
The multiplayer elements are fairly interesting. The messages add a layer of life to the game, and while the shades of other player’s games is sometimes distracting, it’s usually entertaining and sometimes quite informative. Co-op play is a lot of fun and it feels good to help someone beat a difficult boss, and it allows you to progress past bosses that might be tuned towards particular playstyles that your character might not be specced for. At times, it does trivialize the challenge of some bosses, but you can always just choose not to summon. And some bosses are considerably more difficult in co-op than alone. Fans of the PVP love it, but I personally find it to be kind of pointless. Win or lose, I just find them to battles to be a distraction.
I don’t know if I’ve been converted to a Soulsian; I definitely don’t think I’m going to be one of these people who exclusively play Dark Souls 2 for hours upon hours. But I definitely respect the game. My review is a hearty “play it.”