Dark Souls II starts off with you dying (Get used to it), and then it’s pretty much up to go out and have your own adventure. That’s pretty much the story, and it’s actually still a pretty good story, despite not having twists, or turns, or devious plot devices, but this is to be expected from a Souls game, and that’s part of the reason many love it, so at least Dark Souls II gets the story part right. One thing I will comment on is the cutscenes, which when you first start the game look absolutely amazing… until you actually start the game, then well…
The Graphics in Dark Souls II are dreadful. I’m usually not a graphics guy, but Good Lord these are bad graphics, in fact I think that Dark Souls (a 2011 game) looked better than this, and you’d think that since Dark Souls II was made by the same people that they’d do a better job, but these graphics actually look downgraded. It’s especially disappointing after the amazing first cutscene; it’s almost as if From Software was saying “Here what our game could look like on your system… and here’s what we did”.
Another problem Dark Souls II has is clipping. There are a LOT of visual clips in Dark Souls II, whether you’re clothing going through the ground, and you’re walking through the grass, and it’s just floating right through you, I mean come on, this is 2014, that’s usually covered in visuals 101, is it not? I mean we could expect this is it were a Steam greenlight game, but this is 2014, and it’s just ridiculous.
Speaking of moving through grass, the sound in Dark Souls II is bad. The steps just sounds too loud, it’s like you’re a rhino wondering throughout the world. There’s also very little to the soundtrack, most of the time there’s absolutely no sound playing in the background, but that also kind of add to hopelessness and fear that Dark Souls II is supposed to make you feel, so it kind of works out for Dark Souls II. There’s also voice acting in Dark Souls II, which is sometimes really good, and sometimes really bad, so it’s hard to form an opinion on it.
But enough of beating up on Dark Souls II, it’s not a bad game. The Combat in Dark Souls II is actually really great, the controls work really well, the camera is nice and smooth, and most of the enemies are fun to engage in combat. You can also customize your character in Dark Souls II (because it’s a RPG), and it’s pretty good. Not terrible, but still not the best.
Another thing about Dark Souls II is the objective is always unclear, but that’s one of the best things in the game, believe it or not, as other users can leave messages on the ground helping you along the way, telling if there’s a shield or sword ahead, warning you of enemies, and even giving tips on how to beat them, and of course you come across some that say “Praise the Sun” that aren’t really that important, however if you’re a fan of the series you’ll appreciate them.
There are also bloodstains, which can used to see how other players died, which is an interesting idea, but as in the original Dark Souls, it never really helps.
One last thing I’ll say about Dark Souls II is that it’s hard. This is to be expected, however it feels like it’s being hard just to be hard. The original Dark Souls was in fact a very difficult game, but it was doing so to offer a challenge, to feel like you’ve actually accomplished something, whereas in Dark Souls II, it feels like the developers are just saying “WHOA LOOK HOW HARD OUR GAME IS”, which isn’t fun in the slightest.
Also there’s no replay value to Dark Souls II, you might play around with it for a few hours, but after that, it just gets repetitive and it’s not that fun anymore, none of the landmarks are worth exploring due to the downgraded graphics, most of the enemy types are just the same over and over again, and you just feel like you could be doing something better with your time.
Despite me constantly giving Dark Souls II a bad time in this review, it is an overall average game, which is better than most, but if we were to compare it to the original Dark Souls, then it’s just not the same in slightest. Which is a shame.