Dark Souls II Review: Groundhog Day of Death

If Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Shadow of the Colossus were mashed together with a sprinkle of MMO, you’d get Dark Souls II. I haven’t picked up a new game in a long time since Playstation Plus started handing out free games almost two years ago. With the release of South Park: The Stick of Truth, I wanted to play a good RPG game (just not that one specifically).

I toyed around with the idea of ending my new game drought by picking up Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remastered but felt paying money for a game I beat nearly 10 years ago was kind of pointless.

I grew up with Diablo and Diablo II and thought that maybe it was time to finally pick up Diablo III, since the expansion was coming out. So, like every video game, I like to check out MetaCritic to see whether the PS3 version was any good, or just strictly stick with the PC/Mac version. After reading reviews, it seemed as though Blizzard didn’t give D3 the attention it deserved. I ran into a review from DreadLoardAvatar that stated “…look for Dark Souls 2 coming out March 11.”

This peaked my interest (as I never heard of Dark Souls) so I decided to check out reviews and gameplay videos. Everywhere I went, there was nothing but praise, while being one of the toughest game for today’s generation. Even so, where Dark Souls I was compared to Battletoads; Battletoads still wins.

So I bought it.

The Review and Thoughts (Thus Far)

I’ve only been playing Dark Souls II for four days now. Within that time, I’ve clocked about 12 hours of game time and sustained a hand injury from button mashing. Seriously.

Potential Spoilers Coming Up…

Within the first five minutes of gameplay, I encountered multiple messages from players who came before me written on the ground in a cave. Some wished me “Good Luck!” Others indicated there was a “Boss ahead, get ready!” After reading the reviews of this being a tough game, I was scared to leave the cave. Once I walked out, I reached the “safe zone” of Majula. No bosses at all.

So with the only logical way to go (or so I thought) I headed down a set of stairs and into the sword of a giant. I was able to kill him, but the second one with a massive mace ended me pretty quickly. I believe I died at least five times before realizing that perhaps this wasn’t the way to go. So I went back and found the correct route.

With 12 hours of gameplay, some games would be finished and done with. Not Dark Souls II. Hell no. Just like Bill Burry, you’ll find yourself starting your next “life” with every NPC you ever killed back in the same spot. Eventually you’ll kill the guy who killed you and get the sense of accomplishment, only to have his buddy after him end your life. Repeat. Ever. Single. Time.

The bosses are even harder. They will end your life in a matter of seconds if you’re not prepared. I spent about four hours trying to kill the third boss. The MMO part comes in when someone decides, out of the goodness of the heart, to help out someone else in another world. The problem is that you can’t request someone else to come help you. You can write messages on the ground and hopes someone reads it, and then actually comes to your aid, but nobody has yet.

This game toys with your commitment and ability to not go insane. On multiple occasions, I’ve hoped that my character would just quit coming back. That way, I can restart with the knowledge that I didn’t have at the start; specifically using souls to level up!

If you’re the type of person who plays for the story / storyline, I would avoid this game. If you’re the type of person who’s up for a challenge (and won’t break something every time you die) then buy this game.

4.5 / 5.0