Dark Souls 2: 8 Things That Ruin The Game
Sequel to one of the most celebrated and mechanically-proficient games of all time...but something is drastically wrong.
The Dark Souls train thunders forward, picking up more passengers than ever, but also asking they sit in increasingly uncomfortable seats, leading to many finally exclaiming "F this!" and boarding something else where they serve something other than continual disappointment cocktails and rage-quit flambé. The Souls games have steadily been gaining momentum. 2009's awkward-to-say Demon's Souls managed to combine the gaming tropes of yesteryear - such as constant restarts, meticulously learning enemy layouts and instant-deaths - with a more updated environment and an overall community-fuelled experience. Embodying the 'just-one-more-go' mentality, alongside the 'gamer's challenge' of trying to overcome incredibly arduous odds despite what the programmers can throw at you all fed into 2011's spiritual sequel - and one of the most pure, nigh-perfect gaming experiences you'll find - Dark Souls. Whilst The Last of Us and Gone Home are flying the flag for narrative exposition and worthwhile storylines you genuinely feel invested in, Dark Souls is the gamer's game. It tests the resolve that always crops up when you choose the difficulty of any title, separating casual players from those who are willing to invest literal days of their time perfecting a certain weapon or armour set just to fell that particularly tricky end-of-level boss. Although the game has garnered a reputation for being 'The Hardest Thing Ever', the beauty of Dark Souls arrives when all the systems fall into place and you get used to the seamless ebb and flow of dodging and weaving through combat, somewhat comfortable of your own abilities, struggling to survive yet wondering what is around the next corner. It's a testament to the amazing scope of developers FromSoftware that they could instil such drive within so many people to keep going after so many retries, but licking your wounds and pressing forward to have another crack knowing that if you'd only dodged a different way or healed at a different time you might just snatch a victory, is genuinely a feeling like no other. Dark Souls 2 is finally out, and as the world gets used to the myriad of changes FromSoft have implemented to keep the series fresh for both newcomers and veterans alike, there are a wealth of choices that just feel somewhat 'off'. The original Dark Souls was a very hard game, but it was almost unanimously your fault if you died (save for getting toasted on that opening bridge where the game just wants to make you weep), and therein lies the rub, as with the developers diving back into what was a perfect formula for gameplay, they appear to have changed many aspects for the worse.