Down And Out In Drangleic: Dark Souls II Impressions

By Adam Smith on April 25th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Dark Souls II unlocked at midnight and I haven’t stopped playing since then. The hour between 4 and 5 am was distressing, as I found myself caught in a bleary-eyed Groundhog Day loop of blood-seeking and blood-letting. That central rhythm, of loss and learning as each death becomes a lesson for the next life, is intact and as compelling as ever in the first terrible and glorious hours of this third Souls title. Here are my early impressions and a couple of niggling doubts.

I’m relieved. Keep in mind that I’ve been deliberately avoiding any details or critical response to the game during its early access stint on consoles, but it’s been impossible to completely bypass the general sense of satisfaction. The systems work. The ‘accessibility’ is not equivalent to an erosion of the series’ ability to punish overconfidence and mistimed rolls or strikes. It can be difficult to cut through the exhilaration of exploring new content built around the superb systems that the previous games had already perfected, but the delight of these initial impressions is shot through with a slight suspicion as to the strength of Drangleic as a world.

If you haven’t played Dark Souls, read my thoughts or any of the other fine words written about it. I won’t spend too much time discussing what it is that makes the series such a brilliant tangent from the usual dungeons and doldrums here. Suffice to say, the series is like a fantasy RPG from an alternate timeline, where concepts such as loot, combat, death and dungeons have evolved in ways that are recognisable but weirdly misshapen. It also feels like the endpoint of that timeline, a distillation of ideas and designs that have been circulating for decades.

It’s one of the best and most thought-provoking games I’ve ever played.

A tough act to follow, although it should be remembered that Dark Souls had several acts to follow itself, not only in Demon’s Souls but in From Software’s King’s Field series. Despite its peculiarity and deviance from fantastical norms, it is not a game that sprang fully-formed into the world. Dark Souls II is from good stock and I’m already confident that it’s worthy of its lineage. However, peeling back the shock and joy of the new, a few niggling doubts are already making themselves known.

Again, I want to emphasise that these are early impressions based on the game’s first areas. I’ll have a full Wot I Think as soon as possible and all of the doubts may dissipate like the ashes of an untended bonfire.

The world itself is the biggest potential problem. It’s still a bizarre and awfully beautiful place but the connectivity of Dark Souls’ Lordran is lacking. Rather than being lost in the midst of a crazed junction, with no signposts, no clear racing line and no warnings, Dark Souls II begins with a trek. Drangleic, at least in its opening areas, isn’t confused* in the way that Lordran is.

One of the disconcerting pleasures of Dark Souls lay in finding routes between areas that had seemed distant and disparate, and realising that most places turned back on themselves. Lordran is a heap of ruins, architecture and anomalies piled high, leaving the player to dig deeper while always tending toward the same tracks. As a (mostly) continuous map, with few transporting breaks, it is one of the most ingenious pieces of level design ever constructed. Drangleic allows for quick travel between bonfires and the tiny hub village at the starting line makes the route from one location to the next seem less labyrinthine and more linear.

In that sense, perhaps its structure has something in common with Demon’s Souls. While distinct areas aren’t quite as crudely separated as the worlds that led off from the first game’s central hub, I don’t feel as lost in Drangleic as I did in Lordran, and the immediate sense of claustrophobia and panic isn’t as apparent. That said, I was in grave danger of waking everyone in the building I live in (ten stories tall) at various points last night as unnatural creatures lunged at me and the dark set in all around. There’s nothing in gaming quite like these repeated attempts to pass an apparently simple set of obstacles and enemies, only to die again and again and again and again. It’s desperate, exasperating and, eventually, a source of elation.

The core of the game is so finely tuned that it ticks like a metronome. Bonfires are placed cunningly and just far enough apart to create a superb tension and sense of anguish. The combination of even the simplest enemy attacks is quickly comprehensible but animated and timed precisely so as to take advantage of any overconfidence or lack of care. Even in these early stages, I’m using skills and thought processes that I’d all-but forgotten, like an athlete returning to the track after a long injury lay-off.

Technically, as has been mentioned many times already, it’s not quite the looker the early footage led us to believe it might be. The framerate hasn’t dipped below 60fps so far and it’s as smooth as Old Fitzgerald bourbon but venturing into dark places with a torch in hand isn’t as dramatic as I’d hoped. Lighting is fairly flat, though I’m not sure I would have noticed if I hadn’t been convinced to expect better.

Durante is already working his magic but I’m currently playing the launch version as it was released. The mostly fascinating art design interests me far more than the resolution of every piece of stonework and bark, but a few areas have struck me as a little bland in a way that I don’t remember being the case during Dark Souls. I’m already approaching stranger and more fantastical places though, and I stop to admire the view far more than I do in almost any other game. However muddy some textures might be on close examination, Dark Souls still does distance better than the rest.

From have included a decent set of graphical settings this time around, with features including shadows, textures and water effects configurable as ‘low’, ‘medium’ or ‘high’ among other tweaks. Properly integrated mouse and keyboard controls are the other supposed improvement over the port of the previous game but I found them horrible to use in the five minutes I spent testing them. I’d never choose to play the game without a joypad, just as I’d never choose to play Quake with one, but for those who don’t have a suitable controller, I’m not convinced the experience of playing will be a pleasant one.

If ever a game was worth a peripheral, Dark Souls is that game. The motion of the mouse simply doesn’t feel like a natural fit for the weight of this particular brand of third-person combat. It suits something solid and rooted to the hand rather than the gliding surface-play of a mouse.

Whatever the complaints might be, now or when all’s said and done, I don’t want to stop playing until I can’t fend off sleep for another second. And then I’ll dream about the things that I’ve done wrong and ways to improve. That’s not a joke or an exaggeration – the repetition and otherwordliness causes these games to infest weird corners of my brain and makes them its own. I think that’s one of the reasons they attract such reverence. Dark Souls II is, as the series has ever been, a hypnotic combination of demanding skills and enchanting nightmares. Feels like coming home.

*trace the word back to its Latin origins for the full sense (ACADEMIC NERD ALERT)

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Top comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    AngelTear says:

    A cautious warning that may or may not interest you: it seems that, if you’ve ever been VAC banned in any game that uses steamworks, you may not be able to play the online part of DS2. It’s not sure why, may just be a temporary mistake.

    Source/For more info: SuperBunnyHop’s video

    Also, hats have been dropped for your use of Latin, Adam :D

  1. Dwarph says:

    I’ve nearly finished the original Dark Souls but now I’m faced with a dilemna
    The original ran like crap on my pc, but thats because i havent upgraded in a while
    I’m building a lovely new pc next year and as this is one of my most anticipated games ever, is it worth waiting a year so i can play it with solid fps?
    (keeping in mind the original went down to single figures at some places on my pc)

    • trjp says:

      You know the answer to that question better than anyone else – don’t you?

      Single figures? Is the PC powered by COAL – is your screen actually a Fax Machine?

      SINGLE FIGURES!? That’s less “Dark Souls the videogame” than “Dark Souls: What the Butler Saw” surely? :)

      • frightlever says:

        “SINGLE FIGURES!? That’s less “Dark Souls the videogame” than “Dark Souls: What the Butler Saw” ”

        Brilliant!

      • Dwarph says:

        pahaha
        it only happened once thankfully, it was during sceath the scaleless when he does his huge crystal attacks
        but yeah my pc is in desperate need of an upgrade, especially as next gen overtook it

        I’ll probably bide my time and play it next year in all honesty, keep churning out those faxes c;

    • Prolar Bear says:

      I’m guessing this one should run better than the first. I did have some slow parts in DS1 but nothing too nasty – the 30 FPS unlock got rid of those slowdowns.

    • kyrieee says:

      I had a lot of framerate dips in the first game (below 30), but this one seems to be locked at 60 fps on medium settings. (Q6600 / GTX260).

      • guygodbois00 says:

        +1 for that Q6600; still holding its own.

        • Neurotic says:

          Yes indeed! My trusty Q6600 has remained glued to its same-era MSI mobo whilst everything else has been upgraded around it, and it’s yet to complain or cause my gaming experience to be less than stellar. Q6600 is a modern classic. :D

      • Solanaceae says:

        Was that with or without DSfix if I might ask (the low fps)?

        I used DSfix in reverse with internal render res at 800×600 and display at 1024×768 and got consistently 30-35 FPS throughout (my PC is ancient, and upgrading atm is not an option). Can I expect to run DS2 if I could run the first? Your comment gives me hope :)

        • Zolombo says:

          No! The game is locked at 60 fps it means. It will run at 60 even with old and weak graphic cards but it also cause them to overheat in 5 seconds.

    • bill says:

      That’s a shame to hear. I was hoping that, given all the complaints about low resolution and graphics quality, DS1 might actually run on my old pc.

      Sigh. Back to Severance I guess…

      • Nate says:

        I ran DS1 on a very old machine– 64mb video card (to indicate its generation, who understands the nomenclature these days?), 2gb ram, 2.1ghz dual-core Athlon in 32 bit Windows– and although there were some single digit framerates on a few long views in the poisonous swamp, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for me.

        Nicer computer these days, so can’t comment on DS2 other than to suggest that since it targets the same generation of consoles, performance is probably very similar to DS1?

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      I’m playing DaS II using Intel HD 4600 graphics, set to a custom somewhere-between-low-and-medium arrangement. I’d say I’m getting around 30fps, rarely below it, fairly often above it. This is at 1680×1050.

      This is an improvement on the first game, by a great deal. Even with DSFix, I had to be very careful with video settings to achieve similar frame rates and had to be at lower resolutions.

      So with this somewhat arm-chair comparison considered, I would say DaS II will likely perform better than the first game for pretty much anyone, when similar video settings are used.

  2. Forgoroe says:

    Very nice article. Caught the essence of the game very well (I feel). Especially in trying to portray what is so lovely and so beautiful, but no so apparent in these Souls games we praise so much… Like you said, they grasp us in enchanting nightmares. I’m really fond of those. Hit the spot!

    I’m still waiting for my own copy to get downloaded. ISP is a real b%$!* right now. What timing.

  3. Premium User Badge

    AngelTear says:

    A cautious warning that may or may not interest you: it seems that, if you’ve ever been VAC banned in any game that uses steamworks, you may not be able to play the online part of DS2. It’s not sure why, may just be a temporary mistake.

    Source/For more info: SuperBunnyHop’s video

    Also, hats have been dropped for your use of Latin, Adam :D

    • Geebs says:

      Also, just on case anyone else has the same problems I did – if your 360 controller isn’t working in DS2 but is fine in everything else – you might have another Bluetooth controller configured. Try deleting it in the Windows Bluetooth device setup panel.

    • Scumbag says:

      I used a mod or two a few years back and got a ban. Cheers for that, will keep an eye on things to see if they change.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Keeping VAC-banned people from going online in DS2 makes sense to me. I’m sure people will still find ways to cheat and grief, but taking out a subsection of those likely to do so from the outset is great.

      • Premium User Badge

        AngelTear says:

        You didn’t watch the video, I guess.
        First of all, it’s against Steam regulations, and it wasn’t advertised anywhere, no other game works like that.

        Secondly, there are a lot of known false positives with VAC that Steam just refuses to acknowledge and retroactively correct.

        Thirdly, I’m all against cheaters, but, being locked out of a game today when you’re, say, 20 years old because you cheated in Half-Life when you were 14 is a bit too much, don’t you think?

        • SillyWizard says:

          I, for one, do not think it’s unreasonable to blanket-ban cheaters from all multiplayer components of all games they have.

          Cheaters are cheaters. There’s no excuse for it.

          • P.Funk says:

            You basically condemn a boy for his transgressions for the rest of his life? Interesting. How many of us were saints in our early teens? How many of us did things wrong, got in trouble, suffered the consequences, and then were returned to the fold and years later have yet to repeat our childish misbehavior?

            Seriously, you REALLY think that a full grown adult should be blanket banned from gaming on the internet because he was an asshole in early high school? The bullies that beat kids up never got treated this badly lol.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Did you bother to watch the video that AngelTear linked to? It’s pretty damning of VAC and DSII as far as I’m concerned.

        • P.Funk says:

          Why take into account someone else’s experience and allow yourself to develop a nuanced outlook when you can more comfortably condemn things based on a shallow and lazy prejudice? The latter is far more satisfying and requires less effort.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Your philosophy has convinced me. I look forward to the future with a bold new view.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      Wait, so if I’ve ever been (falsely) VAC banned from a Counter-Strike server, even though I’ve never even been remotely tempted to cheat in an online game, this will make it impossible for me to enjoy this game and possibly others in the future?

      Wow. I think I’m starting to see why some people dislike Steam. Now I wish I didn’t have half my library of games tied up in it. Someone remind me why I’m a Steam customer again, because it sure as shit isn’t for the hats and achievements.

      Thanks for the heads-up anyway.

  4. altum videtur says:

    Well, I played through the first game with M+KB because I just can’t be arsed to handle a joystick. So clunky. Like poking a piano with a stick.

    Also, yeah, the game is a bit of a B-lister compared to the previous two. But a B-list Souls game is still an A+ anything else.

    • Volcanu says:

      Playing with a joystick would definitely be weird. A joypad on the other hand…

    • Shadow says:

      Yeah, major gripe for me too… Kudos to the devs for properly porting the game to PC from the performance perspective. But really, being forced to use a gamepad on PC is like being forced to use a computer monitor on console. It doesn’t make any sense.

      WASD and good mouse control can handle any third-person RPG out there much better than any X360 controller. This isn’t a sports or racing game, where gamepads have a natural advantage, and in this case, the M+KB disadvantage is entirely artificial.

      • Bradamantium says:

        Seems like a problem endemic to 3D action games on PC, and Dark Souls is as much action as RPG, if not moreso. I don’t know many third person RPGs with quite so much focus on positioning and timing. It’s just the sort of game where having all your buttons within a millimeters reach just works better than having more buttons a bit further apart, and I’m not sure there’s any proper m/kb controls that can reflect that.

        • Shadow says:

          It’s a problem endemic to bad ports.

          There’s at least 15 usable keys immediately around WASD (not to mention at least two buttons on the mouse) if you really want millimetric precision. Plenty of accessible controls.

          Dark Souls has 8 actions (ABXY and the Ls and Rs, not counting target lock which is an aid for sluggish console movement PC doesn’t need).

  5. bstard says:

    Before buying you might also want to check out the troubles this game has. A huge thread on ze steam forums about the game not starting at all.

    • trjp says:

      It wouldn’t be the Steam Forums if there wasn’t at least 1 thread of people who are staring at blackness…

      In that thread we will have a predictable mixture of ingredients, including but not limited to

      66% angry bile
      22% people suggesting you upgrade your shitty rig
      4% people suggesting you defrag and run anti-virus/malware

      For spices, some lovely suggestions will usually include

      Verifying the Steam Datacache/Files
      Disabling additional monitors (whether spanned/surrounded or extended desktop)
      Disabling VSYNC
      Downloading/Re-installing the latest DirectX
      Downloading a variety of VC++ and .Net Frameworks
      Disabling the Windows Firewall/putting your PC into the router DMZ

      Without that thread tho – it wouldn’t be a PC-based video game

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        You forgot UPGREAD UR DRIVERZ, especially if the person has already said “all my drivers are up to date”. If they repeat that, yes they have done that, tell them to “upgrade the driver for their R1682 signal bus port dongle, which is always overlooked by noobs”.

        The most important thing however is always to suggest the most banal, patronising and obvious things that the person will undoubtedly already have tried, and then when your “helpful suggestions” are met with exasperation, tell them their motherboard must be borked and must be RMA’d.

        When the final “thanks” comes forward, reply with “you’re welcome, no need to be so rude next time”, just to ensure your ‘client’ ends up in the loony bin by the end of the night.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          I fucking hate the people at those forums. Worst community in existence outside of 4chan.

  6. Hillbert says:

    Currently playing this on the PS3. Really enjoying it so far but it does feel more like a cross between Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls rather than an out and out Dark Souls sequel.

    There’s certainly more travelling back to the hub style area rather than pushing on towards the next bonfire. Although by allowing warping between bonifres from the start this mens that you only have to reach a bonfire to warp back and level up. I’m not sure why they didn’t allow you to just level up at a bonfire rather than waste two loading screens.

    That said, small complaints, especially compared to just the sheer joy of playing it.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      Ooh, NG+ sounds very interesting.

      Can’t wait to put my paws on this.

      EDIT: whoops, looks like I replied to the wrong post.

    • Imbecile says:

      Yeah – its an excellent game. Just completed it on the 360. Basically:

      Slightly less imaginative boss fights
      Slightly less good design (in terms of unexpectedly linking back to a previous area)
      Slightly better explanations of what you need to do (but only just!)
      Much better online interactions.
      Repairable Ring of Life Protection broke the risk/reward mechanic for me

      Overall – it was a tiny bit worse than DS1, but terrific nonetheless.

      • pasports31 says:

        Agreed on the repairable risk of life protection thing. If you use it to your advantage takes away a lot of tension

  7. Snidesworth says:

    I already sank countless hours into the PS3 version and now I’m diving back in on the PC. It falls a little short of DS1′s majesty, but it’s still a fantastic game. It also looks rather lovely PC, even more so with the graphical tweaks recommended by Durante. http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/04/21/dark-souls-2-pc-tweaking-guide/

    One thing worth mentioning is that NG+ is a far more interesting experience than it is in Dark Souls 1. Right out the gate you’ve got types of enemies that never appear in the initial playthrough and the game goes to great lengths to surprise you with unexpected changes.

  8. Laurentius says:

    The praise DS series is receiving is really getting into me, but seriously game that can’t be comfortbale play with mouse and keyboard on PC. Just no, if I wanted to play with controller I would be playing it on console.

    • trjp says:

      Grow up

      Seriously – the thing about PCs is that we have a range of things we can plug into them – joypads/sticks/keyboards/mice/head tracking doodahs et al

      The idea that a game MUST BE ON KEYBOARD AND MOUSE – BECAUSE PC – is somewhere between childlish and outright stupid

      • kyrieee says:

        The issue here is that there’s nothing about the game that requires a controller, it’s just that the kb/m implementation has a ton of problems. Basic stuff, like you can’t do a leap attack with kb/m because the mouse input is delayed to allow for double clicking so the timing is totally off. It’s like no one even tested it. The first game actually played fine on kb/m except for controlling the camera (which there was no excuse for it being that bad).

        • Laurentius says:

          Thanks kyriee, for partailly restoring my faith in humanity (and RPS crowd in paricular).

        • SillyWizard says:

          But that’s not what he said. He said “… if I wanted to play with controller I would be playing it on console.”

          Please refer to the initial reply.

        • Premium User Badge

          Lamb Chop says:

          The problem for me personally being two things: I don’t own a console and I am absolutely awful with a controller. I am also really really good with a mouse and keyboard. So a difficult game that asks me to use a controller means I’m fighting both the game’s difficulty and learning a control scheme I never use. Which feels far from natural. Yeah, it’s personal to me, but it’s still a barrier to my enjoying the game. It may theoretically be a non-optimal control scheme, but as long as it’s functional, KBM will always be better for me, barring a serious training session with a controller I don’t own.

          • benjaminlobato says:

            That’s fine. But what Laurentiis seems to be saying is that because you need a controller to play Dark Souls, the game should not be praised by a PC gaming website or PC gamers. This makes no sense to me. Surely if you can afford a $1000 gaming PC you can also afford a $40 game pad, so it’s not an unreasonable requirement.

          • Laurentius says:

            @benjaminlobato
            Yes dude, that’s exactly what I seem to be saying in my initial comment. Word by word. Whatever. It was my opinion about “me” being uncomfortable with subpar M+K controls and “my” dissatisfaction with port not doing it right with the type of controloer that I have in front of me. I don’t get where people get the idea that I have problem with them enjoying the game in the state it is. Of course when everyone jumped on me I got a little heated b/c i don’t understand how my opinion is different from typical batch of RPS comments : “I won’t play game X b/c: it’s Steam, Uplay, Orgin, is from EA, Bioware, doesn’t support triple monitors or resolution 1794×1456, doesn’t allow to save on pendrive etc.” and that’s perfectly ok, but considering not to play DS2 because of uncomfortable K+M support is heresy.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      If your choice of platform forces you to use a sub-optimal control method, you are not impressing anyone and merely making things harder for yourself.

      Because frankly, Adam’s “I’d never choose to play the game without a joypad, just as I’d never choose to play Quake with one” encapsulates the whole idea very elegantly.

      • frightlever says:

        I played Doom with a joypad. I was still pretty wary of mice at the time, whereas I’d been using controllers since the Atari VCS. The idea that M+K is in the archaeological bedrock of PC gaming is just silly. I did use a mouse for Quake – LMB for fire and RMB to run. I had to be PERSUADED to adopt WASD.

        Now WASD is all grown up and I never even get so much as a phone call.

        • Premium User Badge

          basilisk says:

          Yeah, but Doom has auto-aim (of sorts), so it’s quite well suited to a controller. Quake isn’t.*

          Of course, Quake originally didn’t even have mouselook, so everything is a bit more complicated than that, but I think everyone can agree that the idea of playing Quake in multiplayer with a gamepad is quite ridiculous. And I do agree that playing Dark Souls (or most other 3rd person games) on mouse/kb sounds similarly silly.

          *EDIT: Oops, so the original Quake apparently had autoaim as well, being designed for keyboard only. My bad.

      • Emeraude says:

        The idea that a game always needs – that gaming demands – an optimal control scheme at all time seems weird to me. Some games are made by the fact they they impose a limited control scheme (the example I always love to give: why are people not allowed to use their hands in football ? It’s a suboptimal way to control the ball).

        Games at their core are constraints. I would say the issue isn’t whether a control scheme happens to be optimal, but if it happens to be fitting.

        I find it also strange that modern quasi-fetishistic attachment to m+kb of the modern PC scene. Used to be that PC was lauded because it allowed you more variety of play, tailored to the need of the games and the wants of the players (joysticks, joypads, drive-wheel, optical guns; you name it…).
        Now it’s all about “optimal” control, and the disparaging of alternative input methods…

        Edit: @ basilisk : my bad, should have cut that post in two, as only the first part actually addresses you. Apologies in case of misunderstanding.

        • Premium User Badge

          basilisk says:

          It’s not so much that it needs it (I’m sure some people would try to play this on the Wii if they could), but that it’s clearly a more comfortable choice. Because while the mouse is superior to a thumbstick, literally anything is superior to a keyboard, and DS is simply not a game that needs precision in camera control, so the mouse brings you no benefits.

          Most of the time playing DS, I was holding the left shoulder button to raise my shield, pushing left thumbstick to move forward, right thumbstick to rotate camera and ready to tap or hold B whenever required, right index finger constantly posed on right shoulder button to attack. Four digits, five verbs, always prepared. This simply isn’t possible to do comfortably with a keyboard.

          If someone doesn’t care about physical comfort, it’s their call, but it’s not akin to playing football without using hands (which is against the rules and therefore cheating), but rather playing football while wearing flip-flops (which isn’t against the rules, but is very silly, and it’s only you who will be uncomfortable).

          • Emeraude says:

            which is against the rules and therefore cheating

            That’s one of the most fascinating thing, I find, with video games. The elasticity of rules – because so many of them are implied and not stated (the saving system is part of the rules, the control scheme is part of the rules I would argue).
            Choosing to play with an alternative control scheme that wasn’t part of the original design isn’t cheating because… we feel and decided it isn’t so – though in other contexts we will rule it is.

            Like kids incorporating or subtracting elements on the fly in a recess game of tag each bringing his/her presupposed assumptions, with possible argument if they happen to conflict.

            This simply isn’t possible to do comfortably with a keyboard.

            I know at least one person who would argue to the contrary. But then he plays fighting games on keyboard. I get your point though.

          • Premium User Badge

            basilisk says:

            Well, I think it boils down to collective vs individual, doesn’t it? The rules of any game are imposed by consensus of a group of people: the saving system in DS is what it is because the developers decided so and you chose to play along. If you use savestates or something instead, then you are cheating, because you are sort of breaking this implicit agreement. Because games, in a highly abstract sense, are essentially a form of collective agreement. (Most forms of art are, really, but the case is much stronger with games.)

            But playing with mouse/kb is merely your personal preference. No one is imposing anything on you, they’ll just think you’re weird. It may be a self-imposed challenge or whatever, but it’s entirely your call. But it’s not cheating because no one ever said you’re not allowed to do that.

          • dudleyisasillyname says:

            There is a difference between optimized control schemes and constraints. Optimizing the control scheme just means that the game should function reasonably the same regardless of the players input device (controller, mouse + keyboard, joystick, etc). A constraint is a rule that governs the way the game is played, for example in DS 2 you have a health bar and when the bar is empty you die.

            To use your football/soccer example, we can say that the constraint is that you can’t use you hands, while a players body is the control scheme Now imagine if the control scheme was messed up and you could only look straight ahead. It would be pretty annoying to have to constantly turn your whole body.

            I have nothing against using alternate inputs like joysticks to play games but I would prefer not to have to buy a Joystick to play a game on my PC. I might as well just buy the console version.

          • InternetBatman says:

            I think a problem with your argument is that you are assuming that the control scheme has same precedence as other parts of the rules / experience, when it may be a small issue or it may be a large one. Sure, some games are designed for motion control, or mouse and keyboard, dualsticks, or bongos, but the vast majority of games are not. Playing wii fit with a mouse and keyboard would be pointless.

            The recommended control scheme frequently reflects the target audience or the developers preconceptions rather than a conscience choice to produce the best possible gameplay. Half minute hero recommends a pad even though it moves on a 2D plane and has three functions outside of that.

            Sometimes control scheme is relatively inconsequential to the game developers want to make. Card city nights is on PC/Mac/Linux/Android/iOS, and there’s absolutely no reason it couldn’t be on consoles. Control schemes aren’t as important for turn-based games.

            Sometimes developers just don’t care about control scheme and would rather focus resources elsewhere. Spiderweb has barely changed his terrible UI even though it doesn’t even fit mouse and keyboard well, because they Vogel makes a conscious decision what he wants to focus on with each game. It’s normally making more content.

          • Emeraude says:

            @InternetBatman:
            I think a problem with your argument is that you are assuming that the control scheme has same precedence as other parts of the rules / experience, when it may be a small issue or it may be a large one.

            I’m assuming that it can, and I believe that, to some extent, it should.
            The fact for example, that the game is designed with a controller in mind has direct significance into the rest of the gameplay elements (that’s one direct argument of people who are seemingly against the influence of gamepads on PC gaming in the first place. I think Chris Avellone is right too: there are certain games you can’t design for properly on a gamepad. Conversely, designing for a gamepad drives and informs the demands you can impose on the player in terms of input. M+KB has more button and is more precise. Sometime that’s a defect, not a feature – and that’s before mentioning synergy with other elements like UI).

            @basilisk
            If you use savestates or something instead, then you are cheating, because you are sort of breaking this implicit agreement.

            That’s one way to look at it. Another is that you are playing another game altogether, or a variation of the game thereof – here again the distinction can be subject to some elasticity.
            Is Knightmare Chess its own game, or a chess variant ? (Amusingly, the English Wikipedia page counts it as a variant, while the French categorizes it as its own game).

            In the end it boils down to: do you want to play the game as it was designed or not ? What do you believe the job of the designer happens to be ?

            Most forms of art are, really, but the case is much stronger with games.
            I’d go with Huizinga (a bit further even, to an extent) and say that’s because art forms are games.

            @ dudleyisasillyname
            A constraint is a rule that governs the way the game is played, for example in DS 2 you have a health bar and when the bar is empty you die.

            And the choice of an input method does not govern the way the game is played ?

    • Ich Will says:

      Why? Why would you deliberately out of choice limit your PC? I shalt not play with a controller because…. they are used on consoles is the worst of PC “master race” elitism. I bet you have no problems plugging a steering wheel in to play a race sim, so why would you not celebrate one of the best things about your PC, plug and play?

      • aepervius says:

        Why would I deliberately limit my controlling scheme ? Because I very rapidely get hand pain with a controller, which curiously I do not get with KBM. Now the issue is that they are porting a game on a plateform for which the *main* controller scheme has always been keyboard (and later + mouse). The game maker are not asked to make it as good as the optimum controlling scheme, but they are asked to make it at least reasonable. For example not introducing unwanted and unwarranted *delay* from action to effect when using one specific controlling scheme. Heck , some port don’t even allow for key rebinding, a stapple for PC game for more than one decade. That’s lazyness in porting.

      • Urthman says:

        I’ve got a gamepad, but I almost always enjoy playing more with mouse and keyboard. I haven’t tried Dark Souls, but I spent a lot of time trying Darksiders with the gamepad because everyone said it’s a game where you MUST use a gamepad.

        Nonsense. The analog movement with the controller is a tiny advantage. But having perfect camera control with the mouse is a huge advantage. Being able to instantly turn and see attackers in any direction was worth far more than the slightly freer analog movement. And with a keyboard and five-button mouse, all the controls are much handier. Most actions have a dedicated finger; at most a finger or thumb might have to cover two actions. With a controller, you have to cover four buttons and a camera all with one thumb.

        And why on earth do they design the X-Box controller so it feels most comfortable with your index fingers on the analog triggers and then put two more buttons above them? You have to either shift the controller to a less comfortable angle to put your middle fingers on the analog triggers or you have to cover both sets of triggers with your index fingers. It would be so much more comfortable if the RB/LB switches were down below the analog triggers where you could click them with your middle fingers.

    • Premium User Badge

      AngelTear says:

      It’s kinda like saying that racing games, or flight simulators don’t belong on PC because they are better enjoyed with a joystick, a joypad or a wheel.

      I agree with trjp and the others, the beauty of the PC is mostly in the wide range of possibilities. If you don’t enjoy or make use of that, you’d be better off with consoles, which are much more streamlined plug and play.

      • Laurentius says:

        “It’s kinda like saying that racing games, or flight simulators don’t belong on PC because they are better enjoyed with a joystick, a joypad or a wheel.”

        Yeah, keep arguing with yourself b/c I didn’t say any of it.

        And yes, since I don’t have steering wheel I don’t play driving games that can’t comfrtable play with keyboard, and if devs can’t be arsed to make such version therfore I would rather play them on console where steering wheel or not game won’t lock out players who don’t have it.

        • derbefrier says:

          Wow, just….
          At first I just thought you were being stubborn but now I see it goes far beyond that.

          I would give up guys there’s no reasong with someone like this. Just let him be the crazy guy on the street babbling nonsense while we secretly point and laugh. I now realize this is what’s going on here

        • P.Funk says:

          You do realize that if you can play the same game on a console because it has a gamepad you could more easily and affordably buy a 360 controller for your PC and play it that way… uhhh yea.

          Interesting how warped your sense of principle is on this. It mostly seems to just be about how lazy you are.

    • DrollRemark says:

      I’m amazed that we’ve managed to reach the year 2014 and there still exist some PC gamers without a decent joypad.

      I bought an Xbox 360 wired pad for what, thirty quid, 7 years ago? Every part of the PC I had back then is out of date now, but the controller still works like a charm.

      • meepmeep says:

        I bought a wired 360 pad just to play DS1 on PC, and it’s turned out to be one of my best gaming purchases of recent years. So much use, so many games improved.

    • Laurentius says:

      @ yall
      That’s not about that. It’s about how PC version is treated. You can play Grand Turismo with steering wheel on Playstation but that doesn’t mean that playing with joypad would give headaches. Playing FPS on joypads is suboptimal to K+M but when done properly it’s not actually destroying your fun of playing the game. So Quake example is idiotic tbh. It’s just that devs don’t even try. I get it, it’s game designed to be play with joypads and that’s optimal solution , fair enough but that shouldn’t automaticly mean that PC port has hand-wringing M+K controls. It’s just that devs don’t give a fuck and are actually prasie for this. Amazing, the same people who accept to be treated like shit by Ds devs also get bent of shape by Uplay or Origin. Now that’s childlish.

      • shaydeeadi says:

        Are you seriously comparing being forced to use an additional game client to a game playing better on a controller? Where are your carers?

      • nrvsNRG says:

        Yeah, yeah, whatever.
        You said “…if I wanted to play with controller I would be playing it on console.”
        Therefore, you’re an idiot.

        • Laurentius says:

          No, you are an idiot.
          I’d rather play on console b/c I don’t like to be treated like a sucker by malicious or/and lazy developers.
          Game optimal solution might be lighting pen but on console you won’t be presented with version of the game that make you lament because you have gamepad in front of you.

          • shaydeeadi says:

            Kinect?

          • Premium User Badge

            AngelTear says:

            Insofar as you can’t have a discussion about your differing opinions without insulting each other, you’re both incredibly immature ^_^

            Keep the comments friendly or, I’m sure I’m speaking for the majority here, you will not be welcome anymore.

          • derbefrier says:

            You really can’t let it go and just enjot a spectacular game can you? No game is perfect and they all have issues this one happens to have shitty mice and keyboard controls. Its not the first game to have this issue and it won’t be the last(don’t even get me started on playing racing games on a keyboad talk about a horrible expirience). It is what it is just let go your hate and enjoy what will probably be one of the best games to come out this year. Buy a controller just do it. Its 30 bucks and it will last and be usefull for the forseeable future. Its a good investment for any serious gamer. Or you can whine and bitch and miss probably the best rpg of the year its your choice.

          • Volcanu says:

            How does it being better on a pad mean you are “being treated like a sucker” exactly? And now you suggest you’d rather play it on the console with a pad than on the PC with a pad. So clearly its not the control mechanism itself that bothers you, you just want to pout because the KB/M controls aren’t better and in your ideal world they would be.

            And yes there are console games where the gamepad isn’t ideal. Ever tried playing an RTS on a console with a pad? It’s definitely not the best way to try and play one, but I would hardly accuse developers of treating me like a sucker if I choose to persevere with a gamepad instead of buying a KB/M.

            And there are plenty of great PC games that forced you to buy a joystick when conceivably they could have implemented KB/M controls. How about the X-wing series?

          • nrvsNRG says:

            LOL @ “lazy…malicious devs” “treated like shit by devs” “devs dont give a fuck”. Do you even hear what your saying?

            FROM, are anything but lazy, they made the most creative, well crafted, and unique game of that genre since……..forever.
            And then ported that game (that was never intended for PC in the first place) after an online petition was brought to there attention……….yeah thats sooooooo malicious and lazy. Bad devs.
            They clearly dont give a fuck.

    • SuicideKing says:

      So you drill using spanners? No, right? Then why complain about this?

      In other words, use the right tools for the job.

      EDIT: As another example, i can pan Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons because i felt it didn’t satisfy me with gameplay, narrative or experience, but not because it was designed for use with a controller.

    • bill says:

      You’re just trolling now, right?

      Didn’t you just generate the same discussion on a post a few days back? When everyone explained to you the same things.

      If I wanted to use the same input method for every game, regardless of suitability, I’d buy a console.

    • fish99 says:

      PC has had gamepads, joysticks, steering wheels and yokes forever. I owned a PC gamepad before sony released the first playstation. You need to stop thinking of a gamepad as a console controller and think of it as a general purpose controller that works fine in a lot of games. Yes there are genres where a mouse/keyboard are superior – FPS, RTS, MMO etc – but 3rd person action game isn’t one of those genres. You don’t need fast accurate aiming in a souls game.

      To me wanting to play a souls game on mouse/keyboard is a silly as playing a racing game on the mouse (yes people actually do that).

    • Nate says:

      “Just no, if I wanted to play with controller I would be playing it on console.”

      Umm, okay– then play it on console?

      On the other hand, if you happen to lack a console and don’t want to get one… DS was worth it for US$50, and now you can buy it and a gamepad for your PC for less than that. And, hey, you can keep the gamepad, and not be faced with this dilemma again.

      But– the people who seem least happy with DS (and DS2) seem to be the people with strong notions of how PC gaming should be. So maybe the series just isn’t for you. That’s cool.

      I don’t have any consoles myself. I like it when great console games are released on PC. What I want next is for Shadow of the Colossus to be released on PC. I don’t mind 640×480 if that’s what’s necessary– I don’t mind interlaced output if that’s what’s necessary!– and I’ve already got the gamepad.

  9. Aloe says:

    Can anyone compare the M&K controls of Dark Souls 2 to DS1 MODDED/FIXED M&K? Because I managed perfectly fine with those.

    • kyrieee says:

      They fixed the raw mouse input so that it’s 1:1, you can now move the camera. Unfortunately they fucked everything else up. They let you use modifier keys for mouse inputs, so shift-click is different from click, but you can’t bind multiple inputs to the same action so if you use shift to block you can’t attak while holding it. There’s also built in input lag for mouse clicks because you can now bind doubleclicks, so there needs to be a delay for the second click. The input lag is annoying enough on its own, but it also breaks the forward+attack moves, if you press them at the same time it doesn’t work because the mouse input is delayed. You also can’t bind the mouse freely, if you liked using the scrollwheel to switch targets in DkS too bad. Navigating menus with the mouse is half broken too, but it works I guess. The only workaround for the issues seems to be using a program that resends your mouse inputs as keyboard inputs, as those aren’t buffered. Breaks the mouse in menus though but whatever.

      • Aloe says:

        Thanks alot for the reply kyrieee, I guess i’ll pick it up slightly later than and see if things change. (off to borrow my cousins controller)

      • DanMan says:

        Sounds like NIH syndrome.

      • Horg says:

        God damn it. I had a suspicion for a while now that when they announced M+K support they wouldn’t know how to make a good mouse control system. If modders can wrangle a fix out of the DS2 controls then i’ll get it at a later time, otherwise i’ll skip this installment. DS1 is still great and the M+K fix works very nicely.

  10. pasports31 says:

    Although I loved Dark Souls 2, I was also disappointed. The world just doesn’t feel as interesting as it did in Dark Souls 1. The hub approach versus the amazing interconnected design of Lordran is a big step down, and many of the bosses and characters in DS2 just aren’t quite as good as DS1. Still, if Dark Souls was a 10/10, this is a 9. Disappointing when compared to Dark Souls 1, but still easily my goty thus far.

    • bigjig says:

      Yeah I’m mostly the same. Definitely the best game I’ve played this year thus far, but it still doesn’t quite achieve the heights of DS1. I hope they give the reigns back to Miyazaki for the next souls game.

  11. Soulstrider says:

    I really should get around to play one of the Souls games one of these days.

  12. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I’ve been a filthy heretic and playing the console version, so I’ve got some thoughts.

    I agree that Drangleic isn’t quite as interesting a locale as Lordran, but I think part of it is that they’re even stingier with details of what you’re doing and why than in the first game. The cat in Majula will provide details on certain bosses that, based on the wording, seem to have originally been intended to play early in the game. However, they only trigger after you’ve defeated all of them, which means you’ll play through vast swathes of the game with no clue whatsoever about what you’re aiming for and why.

    The game isn’t as interconnected, but there are tons of little shortcuts within levels that let you bypass obstacles, eliminate or weaken enemies, and even skip bosses. Whereas Dark Souls could feel like you were slamming your head into a wall, in Dark Souls II it’s much easier to take a break from your frustrations, explore, and come back later. In this sense it’s much less guided than the original game, and I felt more like I was exploring on my own terms rather than being funneled down an optimal track.

    As for the sense of place, there are a few areas that I think are definitely on par with the original. The hole in Majula leads to an area that’s similar to some in the original game, but less immediately vicious; I personally had a much better sense of place in that area and a better sense of just how deep down I was. So it’s not all bad.

  13. screeg says:

    Why are your screenshots so relentlessly tiny? Kind of silly to hear you go on about the wonderful art design, then look at these cramped little thumbnails.

  14. Hexagonal Pensioner says:

    Would I suffer from playing Dark Souls 2 and then returning to Dark Souls later?

    I battled through the installation of Dark Souls, got GFWL to work and then played it for just three hours before giving up due to perceived lack of time. I’ve always intended to go back although I’ve not found the time yet. Is the impression I’ve formed that DS2 is somewhat more newbie friendly and therefore, could be used as a training ground for Dark Souls correct?

    I realise this is with the rather large assumption that Dark Souls will work after the exorcising of GFWL.

    • Horg says:

      DS1 will work in single player, you only need an offline GFWL profile to run it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Matt_W says:

      You should have no problem moving from DS2 to DS1. There’s no (or very little) narrative continuity. (Inasmuch as there is narrative in either game.) I suspect, thinking about it, that DS1 would actually be better as the latter of the 2. Its level design and systems just feel tighter; more dialed in.

      • Premium User Badge

        AngelTear says:

        Well, there is a lot of narrative in both games, it’s just not in the foreground, and you may play the whole game without noticing much of anything.

        If you’re interested, VaatiVidya made wonderful lore videos for the Souls series, that really explain the background and motivations of most characters, the setting etc., and I remember him talking about thematic continuity between the two games somewhere as well
        (Some of his new videos have too much of a “fanboy hype” air, and very little substance IMO, but his lore videos are wonderful, no doubt)

        • Premium User Badge

          Matt_W says:

          I’ll have to check those out. Yeah, whenever I play these games, I tell myself that I’m going to read all the item descriptions and pay close attention to what the NPCs say, but I just end up forgetting most of it and being a little bewildered, which doesn’t really affect my enjoyment of the games.

          I did notice something I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere. If you stand at the bonfire in Majula and look towards the rest of the houses in the village, you can see the aquaduct from the start of DS1 off in the distance. Suggests the two worlds are actually pretty close to each other, which explains a bunch of the NPCs who show up in both and some of the thematic similarities.

          • Adam Smith says:

            I hate preorder items but my copy came lumbered with a bunch. BUT the item descriptions provide some wonderful foreshadowing – cryptic sentences about where the equipment came from and what might be waiting ahead. Beautiful.

          • Premium User Badge

            amateurviking says:

            Spoiler light but something has just happened to me that basically confirms that. I shall say no more.

        • Volcanu says:

          I suppose to verge on pedantry – there isn’t much ‘narrative’ in the technical definition, but there is a rich lore. I love the way you can piece together bits of the world’s history through the found artifacts and little details, much like an archaeologist would do, arranging the fragments to assemble a picture of something altogether larger.

          It’s really nice the way you get these fragments of tales or stories but never more than that, so everything retains an air of mystery. Much nicer than the exposition/back story dump many games want to give you these days. And those little links between DSI and DSII are quite lovely and ambiguous enough that you can have some great debates about it all.

    • pasports31 says:

      I would play Dark Souls 1 first. I think it’s overall the better experience, and you’ll get the most out of it by playing it first. God do I wish I could suck all of the Souls experience out of my brain and play DS1 fresh again…I’ve never had such a mindblowing experience with a video game that came anywhere near to what I felt with that. I’m sure that contributes to my disappointment w/DS2 (as much as I enjoyed it); it would’ve been difficult for anything to measure up to DS1, in my mind.

      • Hexagonal Pensioner says:

        Thanks pasports and MAtt_W. I’m a bit of a delayed gratification sort of person so I’ve no problem playing the “better game” second. DS2 then DS for me, probably next year now.

      • Nate says:

        Plus, so far, I’d say that DS1 is the easier of the two, although that might just be with my playstyle.

        • pasports31 says:

          Agreed in that I feel DS1 is easier than 2. Maybe after I go through DS2 a few more times I’ll change my mind, but I found it to be more challenging.

  15. Nevard says:

    If you don’t mind spoilers, this review struck a note with me:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UScsme8didI

    It’s not entirely negative but also pretty disappointed.

  16. nrvsNRG says:

    Ive been playing it all night and luv to bits, but I can see why ppl are concerned that Drangleic may not be as interesting as Lordran. I felt the same but I’m warming to it more and more as I play.

    Graphically I think it looks great, a decent improvement on DS1, but Ive also used Nvidia Inspector to tweak it even further (adding SGSSAA, MSAA, forcing AF, & HBAO+), none of which taxes my PC even slightly (780ti,16gb, i7 4770K).

    Also I was amazed at how much detail u can go into in the character creation. Specifically the facial features, which almost goes to the lengths you would imagine law enforcement facial composite software does!

    Anyway looking forward to a Wot I Think later on.

  17. Premium User Badge

    amateurviking says:

    I must say that having just come off a SL1 DS1 playthrough, DS2 felt initially very odd, animations, timing, stagger, damage feedback have all been tweaked to the point where my brain was screaming ‘SHUN THE OUTSIDER’ through most of my first couple of hours. That seems to be fading as I adjust, although I the world does feel a little lacking in (heh) soul at the moment and I miss the lighting model from DS1. Everything seems a bit flat – might need an FX injector to up the atmosphere.

    Also if anyone is wondering about performance on a laptop. I’m running it on intel HD 4400 graphics at medium/1920×1080 and it’s playing *much* better than DS1, not quite 60fps but definitely perfectly playable. I am nevertheless looking forward to getting this going on the desktop computer once I get to it.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Matt_W says:

    It’s true that the level connectivity in DS2 makes little sense. There are adjacent areas that are geographically impossible. (I’m looking at you Earthen Peak and Iron Keep.) And there’s really no attempt to tie all the disparate areas together into a thematic or geographically cohesive world. It’s more like a bunch of smaller (though interesting) levels connected together somewhat arbitrarily.

    That said, I love DS2. Like many have said, it’s clearly not on par with DS1, which only means that instead of being the best game of all time, it’s merely the best one of the last couple years. DS2 does do a better job of presenting the player with options: it’s rare that you don’t have 2-4 different explorable areas at any time. I’m not really a PvP’er, but that seems more balanced this time as well; perusal of reddit or wiki forums for the game reveals no clear build or loadout or strategy that is dominant (besides, of course, cheating.) Covenants are better implemented this time around. I also feel like there’s more ‘hidden’ content in DS2.

    • Nate says:

      “There are adjacent areas that are geographically impossible”

      That’s not particular to DS2, though. I think the overlook with the Wolf Ring was the most obvious example in DS1.

  19. Dale Winton says:

    Xbox 360 pad is the best one to use , I play most games using that , find it a lot easier than using mouse and keyboard. Get annoyed when a game comes out without proper game pad support

    Played a bit of this earlier , much like the first game just too hard

    • Premium User Badge

      xao says:

      The 360 gamepad is darn good, except for the D-Pad. As long you don’t need precision inputs for your D-Pad (I generally don’t, but I don’t play many fighting games), it’s a great pickup. Scuf also offers a modified version with face buttons mapped to paddles on the back of the pad, which I find helpful for games that don’t adapt well to claw-grip control.

    • fish99 says:

      Personally I’m using a DS3 which to me is a better controller for a souls game because the sticks aren’t as stiff, the shoulder buttons are more reliable and the d-pad is more precise. There’s software to make a DS3 (or DS4) work on PC.

  20. jonahcutter says:

    I didn’t get very far into it, but a couple of things I noticed right away:

    I immediately thought it far more a sequel to Demon Souls than Dark Souls. In look, atmosphere and environment structure. While Demon Souls is an excellent game, I prefer the Dark Souls atmosphere and environment structure far more.

    The controls are far better with M/KB than they were for Dark Souls. That is, they’re not fundamentally broken and shamefully for the developers requiring a player to fix. But they are still weird and a bit janky for some, including myself. One weird/obnoxious thing: Seemingly you can rebind, but only to other preset controls. Perhaps you can edit the files themselves, but when I went to rebind with the ingame controls it only allowed me to select from other predetermined options. I couldn’t select keyboad keys I wanted. Like the “Q” or “E” keys… Unless I missed how to actually do it, that’s a massive developer derp.

    The ingame prompts for keys are still for xbox controller. That’s pure laziness on the devs’ part.

    The animations feel like a serious step backward, though admittedly I’m only a short ways in and haven’t seen a lot of the weaponry and movesets. But even the running animation itself just looks very stiff and awkward and not a little bit older-generation gamey. The great feeling of weight and momentum in Dark Soul’s running animation is gone.

    The graphics were very meh until I tweaked them using Durante’s recommendations and outside software. While it’s good you can make them better, it also smacks of further laziness on the developers’ part. And the vanilla lighting is just plain bad to the point where I quit playing until I could figure out a fix. It gives everything a washed out and flat look that saps out much of the atmosphere (which is already a bit weaker in my opinion).

    In short, it feels far more a Demon Souls sequel than Dark Souls. Demon Souls is a great game itself, so that’s a plus or minus depending on which you may prefer.

    And while not the trainwreck of a port that was Dark Souls, it still smacks of laziness (and perhaps some obliviousness towards PC players standard wants/needs) on the part of Namco/From. All their talk of building it for PC specifically rings more than a little bit hollow.

    • Premium User Badge

      amateurviking says:

      I’ve noticed the animations aren’t up to DS1′s (admittedly unimpeachable) level too, attacks don’t flow into each other anywhere near as well – in fact you can non longer string together heavy and light attacks into combos: hitting R2 after R1 triggers the first heavy attack rather than the second which often means your arms and body position kind of warp from one position to another. Looks shonky.

      Also the PC two-hands straight swords the same way they did in Demon Souls. And it looks silly.

    • Urthman says:

      I used to get upset about games that don’t let you bind controls properly. But AutoHotKey is so easy and works so well, it just doesn’t matter any more.

  21. Casimir's Blake says:

    Has anyone else noticed that there is a larger “dead zone” with the movement and camera in DaS 2, and/or there is a little less accuracy overall?

    I’m using exactly the same controller setup: x360ce converting an SCPH-1200 PS1/2 controller. But I’m finding that I cannot be as precise when directing my character, when compared to the movement in Dark Souls I.

    • Premium User Badge

      amateurviking says:

      Oh lordie there’s something up with the camera for sure. Must have died 10 times to various ‘narrow platform bosses’. Tres frustrant. Not sure if it’s objectively bad or just different enough from DS1 to be throwing me off.

    • Bobtree says:

      I’m using the anti-deadzone feature in x360ce to make the view stick more responsive. It seems to help.

  22. aliksy says:

    There are no options to rebind gamepad buttons, and the defaults for my standard logitech USB gamepad don’t work. They worked in DS1. This is frustrating, because it makes the game pretty unplayable.

  23. MykulJaxin says:

    Something I did early on was to make the hud disappear when I didn’t need it. I’d post which specific options screen that choice is in but since I’m at work (CURSES! LET ME GO HOME AND PLAY DARK SOULS) I can’t tell ya. It’s pretty intelligently done gets out of your face whenever you’re not in combat so you can admire the world. (Sorry if someone already mentioned this, I’m going to go read over all the comments right nao!)

  24. GreatUncleBaal says:

    I’ve gone straight from Dark Souls 1 to this (finally getting sucked into DS1 after watching the Crate & Crowbar playthrough), and am enjoying it so far, though it definitely has a discernibly different feel to it.
    It’s a hard thing to quantify, but the first DS had a certain sadness and dreamy vagueness to it (the slight graininess of the graphics, the muffled effect the voicework seemed to have), which I’m not getting quite as much in DS2 – although I’m not terribly far in yet.

    It’s early to say but I kinda agree with Adam that the levels, while pretty and sophisticated in their own way, don’t quite have the same sense of “ohhhh, I know where I am now” that the immaculate level design in DS achieved.
    But slight quibbles aside, it’s a bloody marvellous game, still, and runs a damn sight more smoothly than DS did for me (curse you Blight Town for repeatedly knocking me offline).
    I wish they hadn’t changed the way sliding down ladders works though. I keep leaping off them to my death because my brain is hardwired into the previous control scheme. But like pretty much all my deaths in Dark Souls, that’s just me being an idiot. :-)

  25. Casimir's Blake says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that some of the enemy placement in Dark Souls II is unfair, ill-considered and sometimes just plain ridiculous.

    Case in point: Warp to Forest Of The Fallen Giants -> Soldier’s Rest. Run outside. Within moments three big old iron bruisers are on your case.

    It is quickly becoming apparent that much of what made Dark Souls brilliant is lacking from its sequel.

    • bigjig says:

      Just wait till you get to Lost Bastille/Sinner’s Rise >.>

    • Premium User Badge

      Matt_W says:

      Yeah, it’s not clear why that bonfire is even there. Much easier to approach that area from the Cardinal Tower bonfire, which is about 20 seconds away. That way, with careful pulls, you can take on the bruisers one and time.

      • Mman says:

        It’s there for easy access to the Giant Tree, which gives out a useful item each time certain conditions are met, not general exploration.

        • pasports31 says:

          Aha! I went through that area a multitude of times looking for some secret I was missing, wondering just why they would bother putting a bonfire there. Funnily enough, I knew all about the tree and the item you can get from it…I never made the connection, though.

    • LittleWormOnTheShelf says:

      ‘Iron Bruisers’ hint, one hit, roll away, another hit, rol away, continue. Seven or eight hits, they’re gone.

  26. Discosauce says:

    A word of warning to anyone who wants to play this in Japan: if you try and buy it cheaper somewhere outside of Japan (which makes sense, as the JP version is $80 on Steam) you will not be able to activate it on your Steam account from within Japan. I found this out the hard way after buying it for $30 cheaper on Amazon. Luckily they were decent enough to issue a refund.

  27. Veeskers says:

    It hasn’t been out for three days, and it would seem hack-using invaders are already in the game. I got invaded by someone who didn’t lose a pixel from his health bar despite being hit a billion times, including backstabs. He could just flail away until it was over.
    Oh joy, oh joy.

  28. PegasusOrgans says:

    Something I read a while back still holds true and justifies every complaint in this article. Dark Souls 2 is essentially a combination of the two previous games in near perfect amounts. It seems intentionally so, and thus it works splendidly. I’ve played the PS3 version thus far (amazing game) and must say the PC version looks much better already without the fixes sure to follow.

    • fish99 says:

      That may explain the changes but it doesn’t justify them. Some of them are definitely steps backwards.

  29. fish99 says:

    TBH I do prefer the DS1 mold of no warping (until you kill OnS) and with leveling at bonfires. I’d also echo other people comments about the world. Not just that the layout is physically impossible, but since it’s branch based there’s lots of dead ends.

    Another criticism I’d have is that the main 4 bosses in DS1 were all in the opening movie, so you recognized them when you reached them, whereas in DS2 there’s no indication you’ve reached a significant boss, and they’re not even any harder.

    There’s also some bullshit with attacks that clearly miss still getting you. Seeing your character teleport 6 foot onto the end of a sword that totally missed, it’s a little sad.

    Also obligatory mention of magic being stupidly OP. Dark Lurker dead in 3 spell casts.