E3 2013 | Can Dark Souls Really Get Better?

Dark Souls 2 is looking to be a deserving sequel to the FromSoftware title released in 2011. The hardcore gameplay appeals that drew people to the first Dark Souls exist in spades. The main gameplay challenges and atmospheric world are expanded from the first game, though we’ve been told that the narrative is branching off in new directions (in that the story no longer takes place in Lordran).

The major changes to the game can be seen in the character creation system. This is actually one of the less intriguing aspects of the game. It seems like a less expansive version of the class system of the first game, that doesn’t add any benefits. From what Namco was able to tell us, certain class options will be available to the player based on how they answer a survey. Which… is basically just a more limited system of what we already had. However, these are just base classes and in true Dark Souls tradition, any character can become anything they want.

I’m also not sold on the ability that players will have to warp from bonfire to bonfire from the beginning of the game. Having to walk back and forth throughout the world makes you a part of it. At least in my opinion. Allow fast travel, and the world starts losing meaning. The game should not be any easier because of this, but it may be less immersive in the long run.

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However, the largest takeaways from what we’ve seen are incredibly positive. Firstly, they couldn’t speak in definites, but we were told that we could “heavily bet” on the fact that the style of narrative presentation will remain unchanged. We will very likely not be getting told the story through dialog, and instead all of the games secrets will again come to us through environmental cues and item details.

Also, 4 person multiplayer will be returning for those that enjoy it. 1v1v1v1. 2v2. 1v3. I never put too much time into the PvP aspect of the first game, but mostly only because I was bad. The expansion of this feature though can only be seen as good thing.

The core gameplay remains very familiar but with a few new additions. Firstly, dual wielding weapons will now provide unique movesets. Then there are HP regen items that you can use while moving which will be a feature unfamiliar to longtime fans, as this is the first time health regeneration can be accomplished on the go. Will that make fights easier, or are the fights tuned up with this ability in mind? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Everything else is basic Dark Souls goodness. One of the clearest improvements was to the enemy AI. This became apparent when I tried to bait a firebomb throwing enemy into leaving his position. He was having none of it and just continued to bomb me. Then there are the enemies that look like armored turtle knights. They really want you dead and had several different attack combos that could easily break your guard and crush you to pieces. Seriously, combat with them was not something you would want to go into unprepared.

Dark Souls 2 looks well on track to be a worthy sequel and also adds some interesting things to the mix. Prepare to die all over again (and again) when it releases on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC in March 2014.

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