Dark Souls 2: Return to the Mouth of Madness
We find ourselves again at the gates of despair and death. I have lived more lives than I can count, but in the end everything leads to the same blackness everlasting that engulfs me and threatens to take everything from those I have come to know. Death….I challenge you to keep me from coming back. Death….I say unto you do your worst. Death….I say to you bring your legions, your abominations, and your unending want of lost souls. Death….I am going to fuck you, and not in a good way.
Welcome, greetings and salutations to all of you faithful Evil Geeks who come back for more even after we have taken everything you can give. I, of course, am your Necro Supreme and liver of dreams, Arthur Harkness, and today I am going to be delving back into something you all know I love and despise at the same time. If you have kept up with my Twitter rants and read my post on the first Dark Souls, you will know that my love for this game is deep, but at the same time my hatred grows with every second that I spend playing it. What sort of hatred you ask? The sort that burns until you have no other option but to strike it down with the heaviest of all objects, or the sharpest, or of the sorcerous variety. There is something about constant failure that drives me to continue going forward in terms of game progression, but sometimes, enough is enough. Grab onto my cloak guys because you are not going to want to get lost in the Kingdom of Drangleic.
Dark Souls 2 is the long awaited sequel to the sleeper hit and crusher of wills Dark Souls. I gave you guys a pretty decent look into the mind of the sort of sadist that plays these games (hint…mine) and the unending agony that is constant death and repetition, drizzled with the feeling of success upon completion that this series is known for. I usually hate playing difficult games, mainly because they tend to feel cheap with the difficulty inflated just for filler’s sake, but Dark Souls is something else entirely. From the ground up they knew what they were doing when they set the difficulty factor to high and set out specifically to make a game that was difficult, but not cheap in its presentation. Dark Souls 2 feels a bit more in line with Demon Souls, which was the first game in the whole shebang that is the Souls series. Instead of one giant connected world, Dark Souls 2 is set up into sort of hubs that serve as your deadly playground. Its not to say that it is not open ended and vast, because it is, but think of it more in line with Metroid in terms of needing certain things to get to certain places. You can definitely get to a certain area, but until you know you are ready to do so, or have something that will help out, it’s better to stay where you are and search for things near your current abilities. These levels/ areas provide you with ample amounts of exploration and secrets to uncover, but something seems a bit off….
With the first Dark Souls, the entire world felt bleak and irrational. Skeletons, monsters, undead dragons, wraiths, hollows, and multiple other horrors stood around each corner and hidden in each room. You never felt safe, but you never felt entirely overwhelmed. The realm of Lordran felt epic and terrible whereas for some reason, Drangleic seems more whimsical and less threatening in terms of atmosphere….except a couple areas….the Gutter and Black Gulch….FUCK those places. Its not that Drangleic is a bad setting, its far from it, but after getting attached and loving Lordran, I was hoping for something slightly similar. There are way too many living people in Dark Souls 2, and it feels like it takes away from the bleakness and burden of being an undead. Being undead means that you are eternally fucked…you probably shouldn’t have friends. For that matter, I understand Drangleic is a place where warriors and sorcerers come to test their mettle, but honestly, they’re all out of their fucking minds. Merchants show up, people just out there looking for rocks and ore, others just looking to set up a blacksmithing shop in the middle of a haunted nightmare filled with horrible things waiting to tear your face off and make you eat Satan’s dick, which I am almost positive is a hidden boss, are scattered around Drangleic….and none of them want to shut up ever. It sort of makes you think that this place attracts crazy, which I guess it does.
Now don’t misunderstand me as so far it seems like I am not enjoying this game, as I am, and have. I have already beaten it once, and working on my second run at the moment for funsies, and am still obsessed with it. The thing is though, I just felt like Dark Souls 1 was slightly better, mainly because of the atmosphere, but there are a whole bunch of things that Dark Souls 2 does better than the first. For one, the combat feels a lot tighter and the movements are much smoother and less clunky. It makes fighting and surviving much more manageable, and makes you promise yourself not to fuck up. Most of your deaths will either come during trial and error, or during a moment of impatience. This game is by no means impossible when you act cautiously and carefully, but when you run into places dick swinging, you’re going to get stomped out real quick. I look at each enemy like a boss, and even though they aren’t , I still treat them as such. It’s the best way to go about things as it will keep you alive and keep you moving forward. If you think that even though you’ve leveled up and gotten stronger that it’s going to be like Final Fantasy lower level enemy wipe outs, then you are going to be in for a rude awakening. You are also going to form grudges against certain enemies. Like seriously. For example, you come across a Cyclops early on in the game, and if I could give you a bit of advice, leave it alone for a bit. Come back later when you feel ready for it, because I tried it once I saw it, and he beat the ever living shit out of me. It was at that point that I made it my mission to absolutely eradicate each and every Cyclops I encountered in the game with absolute extreme prejudice. It may even carry over now to different games, and Scott Summers can suck it.
Another thing this game does better than the first one is in terms of the multiplayer. Some people may seem a bit upset that you can be invaded in certain areas at any time, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. There’s only a few places that happens, and you can stop it by burning a human effigy. I won’t delve too far into it, but multiplayer isn’t as weird as it was in the first one. However, this puts a slight damper on the summons you can do to help in boss battles as some people are just dicks, but most people will be willing to help with no issues. Certain people can be invaluable in new game + where everything is that much harder. I’ve personally been having issues with certain spots and sometimes you really do need some help to get by, but don’t take it personally. Just because you need a little help doesn’t mean you didn’t achieve something extraordinary. Weapons are done slightly different in this game compared to the first one as well, and they make it seems like if you wanted, you could use the same weapon from start to finish with proper upgrading. Not a bad thing, but it makes getting those boss weapons slightly less enticing because they don’t pack the same wallop that the first set did. I enjoy the look of them no problem, and there is one that I use frequently, but I preferred my standard long sword with the upgrades I’ve done to it a bit better. I still collected all those weapons though, mind you, and keep them for looking purposes.
If you have read my reviews/ write ups on games and books and whatever else I seem to be into at the time, you know that I never give number scores. I just don’t really see the point. You can grab numbers from anywhere on the internet, but here at the Geeks we just want you to know how we felt about something, and then come to a conclusion on your own. If you’re looking for a challenge, or something to keep you entertained for a long time, or if you are just a glutton for punishment and well earned success, then this game is for you. But be warned….you are going to fucking die and you are going to do so frequently. I picked this game up on day 1, and within an hour of playing and heading to the first and major town, I reached a monument that is new to this game that lets you know how many worldwide deaths there have been. Within 1 hour of me playing this game, I checked the monument, and it stated that there had been over 860,000 deaths. Now I understand time zones and such but you cannot say that isn’t crazy as shit. I was stunned, and yet spurred into action. I needed to get my death on, and I needed to get my kill on. I highly suggest picking this up, or the first one if you haven’t gotten a chance to check that one out. But be warned ye traveling undead…death awaits around each corner, and if steps aren’t taken seriously, you may just fall forever.
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