Prepare To Die Harder: Dark Souls II

By Adam Smith on April 11th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

When a franchise is resurrected years after its previous instalment, it’s only natural to worry that there may be unnecessary changes to a once successful formula. Changes often make me sad, staring at the flickering screen like a melancholy ghost who realises that he no longer belongs in the world. The very term ‘reboot’ sometimes makes me head for the nearest tunnel of light, my only ‘goodbye’ a sigh and a shrug. Dark Souls 2 isn’t a reboot though and not enough time has lapsed for a paradigm shift to have taken place that means there must be regenerating health and Facebook integration. The new trailer shows some environments and they look suitably dingy and suited to vertical exploration.

That wasn’t too alarming, was it? Castles, ruins, campfires and tunnels are all well and good, so perhaps it’s the fact that Hidetaka Miyazaki has stepped down as director that is causing me to worry ever so slightly, or maybe the first two Souls games are such a hard act to follow that it’s natural to feel trepidation.

This will be the first to have a dedicated PC release and it’s out sometime next year.

, , , .

99 Comments »

  1. ChromeBallz says:

    I’m waiting for a Bruce Willis joke.

    • Trillby says:

      Have you seen the new Die Hard?

      • Ianuarius says:

        I WISH it would’ve made me laugh.

      • Liudeius says:

        The one where Bruce Willis just sits on his couch playing Dark Souls and lets the world deal with it’s own apocalypse scenarios?

        • Pamplemousse says:

          This video on the youtubes basically sums up Willis’ opinion of the franchise. Die Hard 4 was probably enough really.

          • meikanxiwang says:

            Past bosses I had the most trouble with I tended to up-vote every “Praise the sun!” and “I did it!” in the room. May seem a bit silly but I felt it rather emphatic; “WHOA! You did it? SO DID I! Have some humanity for being awesome like me.”
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evJnHUKF6y0#t=45s

    • MichaelPalin says:

      Dark Another Die: Souls II, Harder!

  2. WoundedBum says:

    Check out the 12 minutes of gameplay:

    http://uk.ign.com/videos/2013/04/10/dark-souls-2-gameplay-reveal-12-minute-demo

    Looks great to me, that armour is quite sumptuous.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      Yeah, from that footage Dark Souls 2 appears to play and flow more or less the same as Dark Souls. And that’s pretty much exactly what I want (well, a slightly nicer port would be nice). The art style looks to be absolutely dripping in atmosphere again, which makes my Dark Souls gland salivate like a beast.

      • JustAPigeon says:

        Totally agree. The ign Q&A also did much to reduce my worries about this game to naught: http://uk.ign.com/videos/2013/04/10/everything-you-want-to-know-about-dark-souls-2

        Looks absolutely brilliant, can’t wait.

        • shaydeeadi says:

          Look at the size of that sword!!

          Seriously though, they sound like they are going to just iterate and improve: no talk of changing up the combat to make it easier, same delivery of story. The animation looks great too, looking forward to release.

          • Premium User Badge

            steves says:

            Combat was fine. Probably the best I’ve seen in a game like this, the feel of hitting & blocking stuff is spot on, and the art design and atmosphere were out of this world.

            Could maybe even do with being a bit harder (assuming I could use a mouse and keyboard, am not a fan of the dual stick controller thing), but the constant bullshit repetition every time you died was what killed it for me – I don’t mind trying the same thing again & again ’til I get it (hell, that’s pretty much the essence of twitch gaming), but I massively resent having to replay 5-10 minutes of the same easy shit just to get back to what challenged me last time!

            Demon/Dark souls with a quicksave…yeah, heresy, I know, but I would pay through the nose for that!

        • I want to stab you to death and play around with your blood. says:

          “Everything you want to know about Dark Souls 2,” except any mention of PC. Look here instead: http://www.shacknews.com/article/78672/dark-souls-pc-was-half-assed-but-dark-souls-2

      • Shooop says:

        The biggest complaint (gameplay-wise) I have about the first is how everything was trial-and-error instead of observation and intuition. You’re rewarded less for paying attention to your surroundings than for watching walkthrough videos first.

        Nothing said about that sadly.

        • smeaa mario says:

          I second this.

        • bigjig says:

          I agree and disagree. While I think they could have done a bit more in explaining what gameplay mechanics do (What does ‘poise’ do? What does ‘stability’ do? What are covenants? etc) The game world is literally littered with subtle hints you can use to avoid trouble. The bridge in the undead bridge is scarred in black, the paths in Sens Fortress are smoothed out to show where the boulders go, the mimics breathe slightly and the chain points in a different direction, crystals fall to indicate the path in the crystal caves, etc. etc.

          I would argue that the environment is constantly giving visual hints to the player, and that isn’t even taking into consideration the bloodstains, ghosts and messages left by other players.

        • dE says:

          “The biggest complaint (gameplay-wise) I have about the first is how everything was trial-and-error instead of observation and intuition.”

          As always when this comes up, I like to challenge people to provide an example. I’ll happily point out the cues and hints you’ve overlooked.

        • Phantoon says:

          If you’re the sort of person who watches walkthroughs rather than going through it yourself, then this series really isn’t made for you. At all. Here’s hoping Dark Souls 2 will continue to be not for you.

        • UncleLou says:

          Disagree. There’s a bit of trial and error insofar as you can’t know how tough an enemy is when you first encounter him (or her), but what I probably love most about the game is the careful exploration, inching your way forward, shield raised, observing your surroundings, and avoidin death.

          It’s the very last game where I’d ever be tempted to watch a walkthrough video.

          (I do think that some of the bossed in Dark Souls are a bit cheap, mind, and preferred Demon’s in that respect, but that’s a different discussion, I guess.)

    • noom says:

      Thanks for that. Really does seem to have at the very least captured the feel of Dark Souls. So massively excited at all the impending despair <3

    • derbefrier says:

      Watched that last night and it pretty much alleviated all my fears about the game. I didn’t see any minimap or big fucking arrows telling you where to go, which is what i was afraid would happen when that dreaded term “accessible” came up in the early news articles. The atmosphere and art looked wonderful. basically I think its time to let the fanboy in me emerge and start fawning over this game. Lets just hope the pc port is at least acceptable I know a lot of you guys are not as forgiving as me in that department.

    • Ansob says:

      Pay close attention to what happens when he’s using two swords, on the third blow.

      (Hint: there’s now a dedicated dual-wielding moveset, seemingly.)

  3. Ubik2000 says:

    I’m at the Final Boss in Dark Souls. I really need to gird my loins and get in there.

    Although I’ve sunk INNUMERABLE hours into my run (seriously, it’s a crazy number on Steam. Augmented by the times I just left my guy sitting by the fire while I walked the hell away from the computer for a few hours, but still), I feel like I haven’t experienced anywhere close to everything if has to offer. I haven’t done New Game+ at all, and most significantly, I’ve only fended off invaders (with mixed results), never done any invading of my own.

    Regardless, easily one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had. It captures the feeling of “What the hell is THAT?!” perfectly, and that’s a feeling I look for in games. Usually fruitlessly.

    Playing it on release has got to be a totally different experience, though. If there was ever a game you needed to play with a wiki close at hand…

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      If he’s giving you any trouble, there’s a couple of mounds (one is very near the fog gate, just forwards and slightly to the left) you can circle around and have some of his attacks go over your head when he’s on the higher ground. And apparently he’s easy to parry, but I’m rubbish at parrying.

      • Dowr says:

        I’m also rubbish at parrying – it’s more a lack of confidence issue – so I just used to the fire resistant shields dropped by the Back Knights you encounter just before facing the final boss.

        • Ansob says:

          Gwynn is actually the easiest boss in the game – in fact, the whole Kiln is easy as hell. I don’t know if it’s by design (look at how far you’ve come, you just steamrolled straight past them) or if it was a victim of the same lack of time/budget that led to Demon Ruins/Lost Izalith being pants, but I thought it was quite pleasant, since it’s effectively your reward for geting the Lord Souls.

          (Gwynn’s parry window is about three or four times larger than every enemy in the game, to the point where even if you completely suck at parrying it’s hard to mess up. If you’re worried, stick on Havel’s Ring, a Flame Stoneplate Ring and Havel’s armour set to give you a bit more margin of error, then parry away. He normally dies in about four or five counters if you have a decent, fully-upgraded weapon.)

          • Commissar Choy says:

            Hornet Ring is a good option too since it effectively cuts the boss fight in half.

        • Memph says:

          Parry the wrist, rather than the weapon. Being as close as possible helps. Ensure to wait for their wind-up to finish and the swing to start. Silver Knights or the Black Knights in the kiln itself are excellent for timing practice. Well, maybe not the greatsword one.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      Having played Demon Souls with a wiki and Dark Souls without, I heartily recommend doing your first run of the game blind. It’ll be harder, and you’ll have absolutely no chance of getting all the, ah, more obtuse items, but the feeling of exploration and discovery is totally worth it.

      • Ubik2000 says:

        I think sans-wiki will definitely be the way I play Dark Souls 2 (not that I’ll have much choice). At least having played Dark Souls, I now have a general idea of what I’m doing and what’s expected of me in these games.

        • Wedge says:

          Yeah, I’m trying to not even look at trailers or anything. Not knowing anything going in is fantastic, and you miss out on the in-game hint system if you look everything up.

    • Jockie says:

      That’s why the Youtube poster ENB gets so much love, pretty much covered the game prior to release due speaking Japanese and living in Japan. I only resorted to his videos when utterly stuck, but they proved a great help.

  4. Obc says:

    offtopic:

    whats up with “more from the web”? hottest volley ball players and shia labeouf? really?

    i have deactivated adblock on rps because i love this site and most of the ads are not very annoying.

    but when i have to scroll over such links to get to the 2nd best part of this site (the comment section) everytime, it does get kinda annoying….

    i know i will be flogged because of this comment or maybe have the honour of receiving a well writen sarcastic comment by someone from the rps staff, but still….am i wrong in complaining about it?

    • Drakale says:

      Yeah, I find them intrusive as well. Might be more tolerable if they actually referred to articles on gaming media, but many of them seem to be targeting the wrong audience entirely.

    • Premium User Badge

      amateurviking says:

      Jim mentioned on twitter that if there was anything objectionable to let him know via email. I think they’re still trying to work the kinks out.

    • kalidanthepalidan says:

      I don’t think you should be flogged. I agree that it’s a bit annoying. I can see a lady’s posterior right now in those links. Not offensive, but not the reason I come to RPS.

    • Premium User Badge

      tigerfort says:

      I’ve got adblock turned off for RPS, but my scriptblocker has long been blocking outbrain. So ads coming in via scripts from RPS and Eurogamer get through, but I was totally unaware that RPS actually had stuff from outbrain until I saw people complaining in the comments.

  5. Obc says:

    ontopic:

    i am grateful that this is part 2 and thus will most likely expand on the great lore. i have watched so many epicnamebro videos to fully understand the story this game has to offer and i can’t wait for more.

    everyone talks about the gameplay (which is awesome) but to me the lore is every greater.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    Weakness: Hope

  7. dE says:

    I promised myself to not get hyped anymore, some ages ago. The protection failed for Dark Souls 2. I’m hyped.
    In further notes, I will refrain from watching further gameplay videos. I’ve seen three surprises that won’t surprise me anymore. Dang it.

  8. Brun says:

    Praise the sun!

    • Drake Sigar says:

      Giant chest ahead.

    • Premium User Badge

      Earl-Grey says:

      I can’t for the life of me understand the seemingly obsessive behavior of leaving those sodding “praise the sun” comments all over the place.
      Nothing enraged me more than having to literally wade through countless “praise the sun” comments to find the one vaguely helpful note about imminent danger.
      Then again, I am usually always on edge while playing Dark Souls, so it doesn’t take a lot to rob me of my patience and, otherwise, good manners.

      • Reapy says:

        At first I thought praise the sun comments were like you get some sort of stat boost posting them all over or something and was annoyed by them.

        40+ hours in or so I started laying em down.

        Praise the sun pretty much summarizes dark souls. You have been bashing your head against a brick wall of a boss trying to beat him for the past 3 hours and he finally, fucking, goes, DOWN.

        PRAISE THE SUN!

        • Scumbag says:

          Past bosses I had the most trouble with I tended to up-vote every “Praise the sun!” and “I did it!” in the room. May seem a bit silly but I felt it rather emphatic; “WHOA! You did it? SO DID I! Have some humanity for being awesome like me.”

          • Premium User Badge

            Earl-Grey says:

            Oh, my reaction was pretty much the opposite.
            “Whoop dee doo. Good for you. What do you want? -A Cookie?!”
            A firm believer in positive stoicism, don’t let people know your’e happy, they might ruin it.
            -But I make sure people know I’m miserable, the frothing mouth and storm-cloud over my head usually do the trick.
            I really am an anti social shit.
            Unless I’m trying to reward my dog for pissing outside…then I’m mister Sunshine.

          • Phantoon says:

            Stoicism isn’t being negative about everything. That isn’t what it is.

          • Premium User Badge

            Earl-Grey says:

            No, no it isn’t.
            That was just an attempt at a joke.

        • Premium User Badge

          Earl-Grey says:

          Oh, I see. I always thought it was some asinine in-joke relating to that bloke with the sun on his chest.
          I should try taking of my grumpy-trousers before I play next time.
          I mean, I played Demons Souls, and the same type of message (I believe it was the same?) kept popping up there, and my reaction was the same: a sigh.
          -that’s me being angry, the sigh of fury. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

          • Premium User Badge

            darkChozo says:

            It’s a little bit of both. It’s a phrase associated with Solaire and the Warriors of Sunlight in general. It’s also a handy generic phrase that doesn’t mean anything but is kind of cool. Demon Souls had an equivalent in “The true Demon Souls starts here”.

          • Premium User Badge

            Earl-Grey says:

            That’s it. The True Demons Souls. Haha, God I hated that.
            (“If the true Demons Souls starts here, then what was all the pain and suffering leading up to this?” was usually my first thought.)
            But I hated nothing, absolutely nothing, more than those invading asshat-phantoms. Running and rolling around like demented armadillo-monkeys, desperate for that critical backstab…bastards.
            Get off my la…game.

          • Phantoon says:

            Backstab fishing, is what it’s called. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed all of it.

  9. Drake Sigar says:

    Day 1 purchase for me (Skyrim was the last game I bought on day 1). Here’s hoping the port is improved now that they’ve got a little more experience with the PC.

  10. Liudeius says:

    Well I won’t buy it until I see a review, but this has definitely increased my interest in DkS2.
    Now I need to go into media blackout mode like I did with DkS.

  11. Koozer says:

    I made it to the undercity type place, took a long break, and now am too scared to carry on. nngh.

    • Phendron says:

      Blighttown. Yeah, my battlemage got marooned there 3 months ago.

      • derbefrier says:

        good old blight town. If you were smart and started the game with the master key you can skip most of blight town and pretty much run straight to the boss if your not worried about loot (if you know where to go of course)

    • pilot13 says:

      Blighttown is like a rite of passage. I feel like it’s the first (perhaps only really) proper hard zone in the game. Even though the blighttown boss is pretty easy.

      Spoilers/Hints!:

      The master key lets you come in through a back door via new londo (?) that takes you to a lift which skips most of the area.

      If you want to brave it, you can get a ring in the undead asylum return which lets you run through the water as though it wasn’t there, and there’s some poison resist armour in blighttown that makes it trivial.

      • aliksy says:

        Like the rest of the game, once you know the route through blight town it’s actually pretty easy. The bonfires are also reasonably close together, unlike some other areas.

  12. aliksy says:

    I hope they put more thought into the PC port. Good Mouse+Keyboard controls would be great, as would the ability to move sideways/backwards without facing in that direction.

    But even without that, Dark Souls 1 surprised me by becoming one of my favorite games. This looks good, so I’m kind of excited.

  13. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

    Good news everyone! [/Farnsworth]

    NeoGAF Thread about Interview

    PC is Lead Platform, Game runs at 60 FPS on PC (30 FPS on console), Brand New Engine, The IGN hands off demo was on PC

    Original Article (In French, even though Google incorrectly flagged it as Dutch because Google is stupid)

    • db1331 says:

      PRAISE THE SUN!

    • Premium User Badge

      Stijn says:

      It’s in French, not Dutch! You made me all excited about a site from my little country having a scoop :(

    • cjlr says:

      Yeah, that’s totally not Dutch. I can tell because I can read it.

      Also: the first time I loaded the page, half the words didn’t show up for some reason. This led to some fascinatingly absurd word salad poetry being all that remained.

      Here is a sample:
      Ce n’est pas un illusion,
      du
      sublimé.
      environments.
      inquiétant.
      Dans
      catacombes qui
      revient.

      écu,
      choc,
      voir apparaître le “You Died” fatidique…

      TRULY A MASTERPIECE.

    • Ansob says:

      How the hell would you confuse French and Dutch?

      e; relevant section from that article:

      La démo présentée durant l’événement tournait sur PC. Cela signifie-t-il qu’une version PC est également développée en interne ?

      La version montrée avant cette interview tournait effectivement sur PC. Si le premier Dark Souls avait été adaptée des consoles au PC, cette fois-ci, c’est l’inverse. La version PC nous sert de base, à partir de laquelle nous déclinerons les adaptations consoles. En clair, le jeu est développé simultanément sur les différentes machines, directement en interne.

      Vous avez également évoqué un nouveau moteur graphique pour Dark Souls II. S’agit-il d’un moteur repris de zéro ou bien d’une adaptation de l’ancien ?

      Oui, nous l’avons reprogrammé de A à Z. Nous n’avons pas repris d’éléments du précédent moteur.

      The demo you recently showcased was running on a PC. Does this mean the PC version of Dark Souls 2 is being developed internally?

      The version of the game we were showing before this interview was indeed running on a PC. The first Dark Souls was ported from consoles to PC; this time we’re doing it the other way round. The PC version is going to be our lead version, from which the console versions are derived. All versions are being developed in parallel and internally.

      You mentioned that Dark Souls 2 is running in a new engine. Is this something you’ve built from scratch, or an improved version of the Dark Souls engine?

      It’s a completely new engine, built from scratch for Dark Souls 2.

      The intro section also mentions the demo was running at 60fps on “a good PC,” whatever that means.

    • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

      Google Translate said it auto detected it as Dutch. Blame Google.

  14. Mr. Mister says:

    Why not “Black Souls”, “Fallen Souls”, “Mad Souls”, or something like that?

    • db1331 says:

      I believe the only reason they went with “Dark Souls” for the last game and not “Demon’s Souls II” was because they lost the rights to Demon’s Souls. Otherwise, this game would likely be called “Demon’s Souls III.”

  15. cjlr says:

    I still like Demon Souls better.

    But, if Dark Souls 2 is going to have more focus on PC… Of course, it’s still for current consoles, so there’s not actually too much they can change. Most of the problems in Dark Souls stemmed from general shonkiness from trying to do too much at once. Well, that was certainly the case on PS3; I don’t know how different the PC port was, having played very little of it, being well satisfied on Souls already by the time it made it across the platform gap.

    Anyway, here’s to cautious optimism. On the one hand, it can’t possibly be very different. On the other, it can’t possibly be very different. So it can neither be much better, nor, perhaps more importantly for something already starting from a position of ‘quite good’, much worse.

    • rohsiph says:

      In the same way Sen’s Fortress reminded me of the Widda fort / caverns from King’s Field IV, the 12-minute video of the long corridor with fire shooting out from weird head statues up above is totally reminiscent of a small spot in KFIV just before one of the toughest encounters.

      I still wish to myself FROM would make another first-person game, but the Souls games definitely scratch the itch . . . especially with little nods to their ancestors.

  16. Premium User Badge

    strangeloup says:

    I have a really conflicted relationship with Dark Souls. I think the lore is interesting, the art direction is excellent, and overall the presentation and atmosphere is great.

    When I had it on console, through sheer bloody-mindedness I eventually got to the Bed of Chaos, and at that point I gave up, because that boss is some serious bullshit. I don’t mind a game being challenging, but it got to the stage where I felt like DS was actively discouraging me from playing it, with far too much repetition, backtracking, and deaths (or worse) that can’t be avoided unless you’re either psychic or have memorised a wiki.

    For some benighted reason I picked it up on the PC (the reason being a mixture of a) finding a Steam code for about £13, and b) thinking “well I played a billionty hours on the 360, it can’t be that bad”) but gave up again fairly swiftly. The main trouble, other than a distinct case of not being arsed to do all the same shit over again, was that I couldn’t fathom a way to convince GFWL to let me play offline (I’m sure the information is helpfully located in an unlit basement, inside a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the leopard”), and given that I use the PC for internet things other than games, I didn’t really fancy pulling the ethernet cable out like I did on 360 to avoid invaders that were ludicrously overpowered and/or running exploits.

    IF they fix the multiplayer matchmaking, and IF they dial back the bullshit-o-meter, and IF they give me a free puppy I might consider getting it.

    • aliksy says:

      GFWL let me play offline without a problem. I just hit ‘cancel’ on the sign-in prompt and away it went.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      GFWL is one of the two reasons I haven’t bought this game yet. The other being I haven’t got around to finishing Demon’s Souls on the PS3.

  17. bigjig says:

    I saw the 12 mins of gameplay on IGN, which did a great deal to alleviate my fears. How nice it is in this day to have a gameplay reveal that features nothing but gameplay! No shitty scripted events, no kill cams, no QTEs, no cutscenes… Thanks From, if only other developers would place as much emphasis on gameplay mechanics as you guys.

  18. portchd says:

    The soundtrack in that trailer gave me flashbacks of watching Spartacus: Blood and Sand…

  19. chrislindores says:

    I played solidly until Smough and Ornstein, but haven’t touched the game since. I really want to carry on as I absolutely adore it, but can’t quite bring myself to do it. Feels like I’ll have so much work to do getting back up to speed with it all.

    • rohsiph says:

      Aw man, getting to that boss fight is such a pain. A shame you threw in the towel there, as the next set of spaces opens up right after that fight (and in my opinion the difficulty levels off about there).

      It might help to revive so you can summon some allies for that fight, especially if you’ve been out of the game for a while. Depending who you bring in, you could also get a few covenant items as a bonus.

      • chrislindores says:

        Yeah, it was getting to them that really put me off; silver knights on the way, then those big chappies and silver knight archers in the hall. I did manage to run past them all at one point, but I’m kind of assuming that when I defeated Smough and Ornstein, all the buggers I had legged it past would come flooding through the fog wall that appeared at the start of the boss fight and kill me then.

        The few times I actually made it to S&O I didn’t find it too bad, but dying repeatedly on the way seemed crushing in a terrible, new way. Even the run through the swamp to Quelaag wasn’t that bad.

  20. VelociaLume says:

    Can someone mod Dark Souls’s menu to say “fuck dark souls” instead of “quit dark souls?”
    Thank you.

  21. benhagy says:

    Dunno if it’s already been said BUT…this is actually more or less confirmed for release this October (at least three press articles mention it coming out this year and a Gametrailers article pinpoints October (while a few others specifically mention — one a direct interview with one of the game directors — that it will be out before the PS4, presumably pre-November).

    Also, it’s been confirmed that the PC is the leading platform, that the PC version supports 60fps while the consoles are locked to 30fps (with, they stress, no slowdown whatsoever), and that the box art has been revealed.

    LINKS:

    PC as leading platform + boxart (which was unleashed by Forbes): http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=538551

    Proof for release date:
    The GT article – http://www.gametrailers.com/side-mission/49837/go-beyond-death-with-new-dark-souls-ii-trailer-screens-and-details

    The Destructoid article – http://www.destructoid.com/dark-souls-ii-s-director-talks-freedom-and-accessibility-251275.phtml

    The interview – http://www.nowgamer.com/news/1883631/dark_souls_2_no_intent_for_nextgen_version.html

    I don’t think there’s been an official press release yet, I can’t be sure, but still it’s worth looking out for!