Review: Dark Souls II Steam Edition
Developed by FROM SOFTWARE, Dark Souls™ II is the highly anticipated sequel to the gruelling 2011 breakout hit Dark Souls. The unique old-school action RPG experience captivated imaginations of gamers worldwide with incredible challenge and intense emotional reward.
- Graphics are gorgeous, with some awesome lighting effects coupled with slick textures, this is the best looking version of Dark Souls II yet.
- Solid frame rate throughout with minimal screen tearing or ugly juddering effects.
- In depth video/audio options. Options like enable cross region play, in game chat and even re assign the jump button. The ususal suspects like resolution, v sync, custom graphic settings like texture quality and lighting adorn the options section.
- Full 360 support straight from the get go, If you run a 360 pad emulator then it should work. I managed to get my DS4 working with it with minimum fuss.
- Full Steam integration.
- In regards to the previous PC port, the performance on this is night and day. Running on a huge selection of PC specs, the game is such a big improvement.
- Huge character creation section where you can pick from one of the main classes like thief,warrior etc. You can go right into it and adjust the attributes of things like hair,hair style, eyes,angle of the eyes etc.
- You still have the choice of which gift to start with. Some will grant a better head start on the game where others may be a short high or a later in the game shortcut.
- Chilling soundtrack that is atmospheric as it is spine tingling creepy. Whether you are in the safety of the hub or adventuring in the land of the giants, The music will have you permanently on edge.
- Opening area is a tutorial with grave stones giving tips and tricks on how the game plays and the controls used.
- The UI is a lot clearer and tidier than in the previous game, The ability to tweak graphics and interactions is all done through the menu and adopts an XMB style menu system.
- Game loads very quickly and jumping from area to area is so quick even that will have you on edge!
- New addition and a god send is the ability to fast travel from bonfire to bonfire. The only criteria being that the bonfires have been lit in the first place. This cuts down on needless and perilous travelling.
- Limited spawns on enemies will limit the ability to do as much soul farming as in the previous game. This is a good thing as it will see you taking more care in your soul allocation.
- You can still write and read message for/from other players. With no stone needed to to this, leaving a message is done through the general menu system.
- You can still see outlines of other players going through the game. This time round the detail of the ghosts is a lot more prominent and at times you will swear blind you have randoms in your game!
- Enemies are defiantly more aggressive than before and have a lock on you from greater distances.
- Open world mechanic is still a thing here and you are free to go wherever you like, Whether you are skilled/strong enough to be there remains to be seen but…
- A wealth of covenants are in the game and all have there upsides and downsides depending on how you play the game. One of the earliest covenants actually makes the game so hard it will destroy you. Always check before jumping in.
- Summoning is still in here and being part of a covenant will always try and group you up. Otherwise its pop luck who will help you.
- The game oozes atmosphere with Knightmare vibes throughout. You are alone and your going to die, You know this but you don’t know when and by who.
- Mouse and keyboard key assign is limited in that you can only pick a few different layouts but they work a lot better than before and the mouse didn’t suffer too much lag.
- New enemies and new areas that take you all over, from stunning vistas to treacherous and deadly castles, the stakes have defiantly been raised.
- Huge epic bosses where only the foolish run in.
- New website where you can check on the stats on players from any platform and see total deaths or where the most people are playing currently, if they are in co op or solo, difficulty and even check on the server status. The website can be found here.
- Slicker and more realistic animations.
- NG+ is still here and will only be of interest to the hardcore among us. Increasing the difficulty of all the enemies, Playing on NG allows you to continue with your character and collect and forge new items unavailable in the first play through.
- Mouse cursor stays on the screen even when a game pad has been detected.
- Assigning keys only show the keyboard layout and not the pad.
- Slight clipping issues where enemies will hit you through walls and doors.
- Some users will get issues booting the game, A patch is incoming and a list of workarounds is available in the Steam forums.
- Bloodstains and messages will keep flickering on screen and may disappear and reappear at any moment.
- Not for the faint hearted.
- You will always feel lost and will need to have a wiki or guide to hand for nearly every step of your journey.
In Summary, This review is more a “is it better than Dark Souls:Prepare to die port” than a full on Dark Souls II review. By now you know what you are getting with a Dark Souls game and I have briefly gone over what the game is about and what to expect. I am glad to report that this port is so much better than the previous one and well worth a look. Learning so much from their earlier effort, You really feel that From Software have learned a lot of lessons and took all the feedback and done everything to improve this game. I am also happy to report that since posting that the patch for fixing the majority of the booting issues is now out. We do not have a full patch notes post yet but myself and many others have all seem the game working better. Its good to see such a quick turn around and Namco deserve some special mention as they reacted so quickly to customers feedback. Setting up a dedicated thread on the forum and keeping everyone up to date. Any workarounds were put in there and people felt like they got the support they needed. If you have yet to jump into Dark Souls II and want to know what version to get? Easy, get the PC version as its a much better experience in many ways and with mods already coming, The future is here. So die in style and join us.