Is Dark Souls 2 worth the hype?

Daniel Christie, Computer Expert

Dark Souls has been a controversial game since its inception, known for it’s staggering difficulty and huge learning curve many believe it to be too hard be good, while some view it as one of the best games of all time.

Dark Souls 2 follows suit by being an action RPG (action role-playing game) in the same vein as the first one, with many similarities such as the same stat system, same combat system and a very similar story progression. The game is based around attempting to solve the undead curse, which brings the dead back over and over until they go insane. In an attempt to cure himself, the main character goes to a land called Drangleic, where it is rumored the answer to the curse is.

Bonfires scattered throughout the world act as checkpoints, travel hubs and item inventories. During the course of the game there are scattered bonfires which act as checkpoints, ways to heal and travel hubs to go in between them. Upon the player character losing all his/her lives, you are returned to the last used bonfire. As you die more and more, you slowly lose your max life. This is to simulate the idea of going “hollow,” or slowly losing sanity as the main character undergoes death over and over. The first two games of the series did not implement this mechanic, making them somewhat more forgiving. This slow hollowing process can be reversed by regaining your humanity, done by helping other players defeat bosses or crushing an item called a “human effigy.”

Hollowing can be seen in many of the characters you encounter throughout the game, as characters go along their own quest, it is intriguing and harrowing to see them losing their minds over time. This gradual loss of what makes characters unique is a symbol of what happens to everyone in the game, and instills an atmosphere of tragedy, as more and more characters become little more than hollow shells of their former selves.

Drangleic is a beautiful and terrifying place that contains varied and strange landscapes. The scenery itself is amazing, ranging from seaside towns to desolate ruins filled with monsters. Assorted areas contain most of the real plot of the story, with very little of it coming from events and linear storytelling. What that means is that you have the freedom to explore in many different directions at any point in time, which lets you do whatever you please in terms of progression. If you wanted to, you could very quickly access some very high level areas very early on in your experience.

Criticism of Dark Souls generally stems from the idea of “Artificial Difficulty”, the idea that the game is falsely difficult, because it fails to properly give you the tools to succeed. Those opposed to this criticism argue that the game does actually give players the tools to succeed and that its up to the players to overcome the obstacles placed. Early on in the game, Dark Souls 2 presents a boss that will almost surely slaughter you, and it can be said with the utmost confidence that if players are experiencing the game for the first time, they will lose to it. But that is part of what makes the game unique, the boss is beatable, but it takes patience, analyzing of the bosses attacks and perfect timing. If you take the time, you can beat the game ridiculously fast once the fastest routes and tricks become clear. The fastest completion of this game is 1 hour and 4 minutes by speedrunner noobest, who found a way to skip a major part of the game and reach endgame content incredibly quickly.

In short, Dark Souls 2 is a very unique game, and was not created to appeal to all audiences. As difficult as it is losing over and over again or dying many times to the same boss, the gratification in defeating a game like this is incredibly sweet. I would encourage anyone interested in a challenge, that wants to try something new to pick up Dark Souls 2 and try their best to survive.