[youtube id="OMU5DBsrpe4" width="620" height="360"] With the multi-platform debut of the Souls series in 2011, Dark Souls stormed onto the gaming scene and inspired a ravenous cult following (of which I proudly count myself a member). Yesterday, IGN unveiled the first gameplay footage of the highly anticipated sequel, Dark Souls II. Read on for what our Souls-addicted editors think of what was shown.
I am proud to see Dark Soul's design team (under new creative direction) sticking to their guns. The Dark Souls fanbase (read: me) is passionate and devoted, yet easy to disappoint. Dark Souls is a systems-driven, skill-based game the likes of which nobody else is making anymore. Most developers would have been tempted to make a more mainstream sequel after such an unexpected word-of-mouth success. When From Software representatives said they were interested in "streamlining" Dark Souls II, I thought my worst fears had already been confirmed. After watching the 12 minute gameplay reveal, it is clear that From Software's heart is in the right place.
- The game is obviously still punishing. What other gameplay reveal would feature 6 deaths in 12 minutes?
- There are plenty of things in the original Dark Souls that needed to be clarified, and Dark Souls II looks to be addressing all of them (surfacing stats like weapon durability, putting more clues in the environment, etc.)
- More than polygon-pushing, I really love the variety of animations that are being added to the game. The narrative that carried me through Dark Souls was dying, becoming frustrated, and overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenge. Watching the new death animations pumped me up to take down all the new challenges in Dark Souls II.
- I assume the demo character was over-leveled and had amazing gear, but it still seemed like enemies weren't doing that much damage to him.
- Animations seem much faster than Dark Souls. This makes the animation priority a less risky proposition, but also seems like it would be easier to roll out of a sticky situation. I don't know where I land on this one, I will just have to pick up a controller and see how it feels.
- The Humanity system (or its replacement?), multiplayer interaction, and pause screen were all absent from this demo, so I can't say I'm 100% on board with the direction of the game. However, everything I saw has been a great relief. Dark Souls ranks in my top 10 games of all time, no question. This is looking like exactly what I want out of a sequel.
Having just finished Dark Souls, I find myself incredibly hungry for more of that experience - despite the anger and frustration I experienced tackling it. Like Nick, I was concerned about the rumblings in regards to making the experience more "mainstream" but from what I've seen, this looks like the Dark Souls that I've come to love.
- I'm thrilled to see that the core concepts (punishing difficulty, exploration and trial and error) remain intact. It wouldn't be a Dark Souls game if it didn't get you to lash out at some sort inanimate object.
- While I thought the last game provided a great sense of atmosphere with the tools at their disposal, Dark Souls II certainly benefits from a major graphics boost. Dark spaces look incredibly terrifying and the vistas shown in the demo look absolutely extraordinary.
- The animations look fantastic. Seeing enemies having the ability to affect the environment, be it a stone column or a friggin' wall, makes them appear all the more terrifying. I wonder if this means that foes will be harder to "game" into killing themselves.
- The concept of the torch nearly made me pee my pants. The idea that we'd have to wander into dark areas without a shield makes me incredible nervous.
- The death reel at the end was hilarious.
- I'm a little worried about the absence of the Estus Flask, a valuable tool that made Dark Souls moderately easier than Demon's Souls.