Die Harder: Dark Souls 2 Getting Three DLC Episodes

By Nathan Grayson on June 5th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Once upon a time, Dark Souls 2 wasn’t going to have any DLC whatsoever. Its developers were all like – and I (do not) quote – “DLC? More like thing-that-arbitrarily-keeps-games-from-being-complete-so-publishers-can-score-a-quick-buck-later… LC.” Dark Souls 2 did in fact release as a complete game, however, so no huge worries there. The path is clear for even more darkness and souls – and maybe, just maybe, we’ll learn a thing or two about ourselves along the way. Like how easily our bacteria-riddled bodies pop like grapes under the slightest pressure from something three times our size. It’ll be great fun! Trailer for Dark Souls 2’s episodic Lost Crowns DLC trilogy below.

The environments are entirely new, as are the enemies that populate them. You will likely find new and exciting ways to die horribly, which is negative in all situations except videogames. Here’s a breakdown of the first episode, which drops next month:

“Crown of the Sunken King, the first chapter in the trilogy, sends players on a journey to reclaim the crowns that Drangleic’s King Vendrick once owned. Crown of the Sunken King features an entirely different world within the Dark Souls II universe, where stepped pyramids span a vast underground cavern. It is said that one of the ancient crowns lay buried deep within these dark caverns; but surely such a valued item cannot sit unguarded. Players that seek adversity and glory will be rewarded with a crown that holds the strength of lords from times long past.”

That’ll be out on July 22nd, followed by episode two, Crown of the Old Iron King, on August 26th, and episode three, Crown of the Ivory King, on September 24th. Each will go for $10, or $25 if you buy the season pass.

So yeah, that’s three crowns. Then you can put them all together and have the tallest hat in all the land. People will pay you legendary, time-honored compliments like “fetching” and “that sure is three hats stacked on top of each other.” Dark Souls will never be the same.

For real though, Dark Souls 2 was pretty great, and I can’t complain about getting more. Have you finished DS2 yet? If so, are you clamoring for DLC? Are you down with the crown(s)?

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65 Comments »

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  1. Rensje says:

    Finished it and got all the achievements. Quit playing for the moment, but I’ll take any excuse to get back in!

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Me too. Unfortunatly I made the mistake of starting NG+ before quitting meaning I’ll probably have to play though most of it again to reach the new stuff.

      If thats the case I’ll probably pass

      Much as I has a blast playing it there are just too many other games to play through anything twice

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    Anthile says:

    Great, just after I finished my 8th playthrough. At least it will make a decent birthday present.

  3. Mimir says:

    I’ll be all right with the RIDICULOUS and DASTARDLY LIES from FROM software, if they call the DLC episodes “Crowns”, and then I can pretend that the word DLC is a ridiculous miter for a kingly emoticon, like so:

    (:DLC or possibly the poorly balanced DLC:(

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    amateurviking says:

    You say ‘complete’, I say ‘wildly inconsistent’.

    At least in terms of the level design. Some bits felt seriously undercooked.

    • Volcanu says:

      Which is a different point entirely. Underwhelming level design is not the same thing as delivering an incomplete/content pruned game.

      Whatever you think about the ‘quality’ (personally I consider it to be mostly very high – although patchier than DS 1), you certainly get a lot of ‘quantity’ for your money with DSII.

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        amateurviking says:

        Patchier is the word.

        There are bits that definitely feel unfinished to me though – the route from Majula through to the Doors of Pharros for example. That misty bit feels like a kludge rather than something they committed to. Also the torch system and lighting model seems to have been abandoned almost entirely at short notice leaving only a vestige and some seriously flat-looking textures.

        It’s mechanically sound (I like the balance changes they’ve made since DS1) and still a souls game though, which means it’s ‘excellent’ rather than ‘astonishing’.

        • Volcanu says:

          The whole torch and lighting system, as originally intended, had the potential to really give DSII a different feel and an identity all it’s own I think (as well as looking lovely). It’s a shame we never really got to see what it would have been like (The Gutter is probably the closest we get), but I’m willing to let them off as it’s clear it would have made the consoles implode. Much as it would have been nice for them to rework the PC version to put it all back in, as the version with the smallest user base, it was sadly never going to happen.

          As such, it played like more Dark Souls. Which is no bad thing and it is still the most enjoyable game I’ve played since Dark Souls I….

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            amateurviking says:

            No bad thing indeed! Moment to moment it’s as engaging as ever for sure. Not quite as grossly incandescent though :)

          • Viceroy Choy says:

            The only problem I see with using such an aggressive lighting system is that shields become irrelevant for 90% of the game. Without a torch, it’s impossible to maintain a lock (gods, the LS fight would’ve been awful) and likely to cause you to run off into a pit.

          • aliksy says:

            Maybe that explains why shields are super effective, if they were expecting it to a choice between super blocking and being able to see. A shield completely trivializes the lost sinner fight, for example.

          • Viceroy Choy says:

            Only if you’ve found a 90%+ physical block shield, of which there aren’t many. Anything less and you better be really good at dodging or have a lot of life gems.

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            amateurviking says:

            They *really* de-emphasised blocking though. There are so few 100% shields, and catching a blow on your shield is often now objectively worse than avoiding it, and there are many funky things to do with your off hand.

          • aliksy says:

            There’s a 100% block shield after a boss you’ll probably find second, and an even lighter one for sale at the second blacksmith. Even the 90% block shield you find in the woods (large leather) trivalizes the lost sinner. Like, I went directly there from starting (town -> pursuer -> giant -> sentinels -> sinner) and the shield made it super easy.

        • Viceroy Choy says:

          [E]: Wrong spot!

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    Fiyenyaa says:

    I may have spent the £20 as soon as one of my friends told me about it.

  6. Ulaxes says:

    OH YES!!!
    Just finished the game and started a new character besides getting into NG+ with the old one.

    An observation: ditching GFWL made human interaction easier and sometimes I found it too easy to defeat the bosses with 2 helpers. That being said, I could’ve avoided getting any help, but it was too tempting after dying the 10th time in a row. Invasions were also very rare, maybe this will change over time, when everyone beat the game the first time in a helpful way.

    BTW: The capture for this post asked my to prove my humanity, which was hard without any effegies left.

    • Volcanu says:

      I’m with you on the point about having 2 phantoms co-oping with you makes the bosses far too easy. I sort of feel like they should have capped it at one. I know you could NOT summon 2, and sometimes I deliberately didnt but it’s like the whole quicksave in games conundrum, where if it’s there, it’s hard not to use it unless you are particularly disciplined.

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        amateurviking says:

        I always feel guilty not summoning people too, they’re giving up their time for me after all (I appreciate there are benefits to them too but still).

        Might try the Champions covenant for my next playthrough.

      • fish99 says:

        I didn’t summon anything, player or NPC, in any of the three souls games.

    • mathead says:

      I suspect the game of having an algorithm that caculates the worst moment for an invasion and then only opens the gate for a ghost to you ultimately lose the 50k souls you just lost at the other end of the level.

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      amateurviking says:

      I think the invasions have been deliberately shunted into NG+ and generally de-emphasised (the item for invasions is now only a consumable rather than in infinite use thing for example) despite it being a hell of a lot easier to join the covenant compared to the darkwraiths. I think I was invaded maybe twice during my first and four times during my second playthrough. Also the Soul Memory* thing means that most new characters will be out of the range for invading characters.

      *I love this mechanic.

      • Volcanu says:

        I think you’re right. I was invaded probably twice in my first playthrough too, but it’s happened a bit more on my NG+ playthrough. I think it’s probably the Soul Memory mechanic as you say.

        That said I never had a problem invading others, although I only started in NG+ having got a bit bored of sun bro-ing, where obviously the Soul Memory thing is less of a factor. The server changes certainly have helped in that regard too, I’m sure.

        On balance I think I’m probably in favour of that move. It means really new players on their first go through are unlikely to get repeatedly murdered by invaders – and by the time people are in NG+ I’m guessing they are generally in favour of anything that freshens the experience up, like a bit more PvP.

        On that note I think they did a fine job of making NG+ more unpredictable and exciting – after getting used to knowing the enemy placement and patterns like the back of your hand it was a great move to keep you unbalanced by changing this up in places.

      • aliksy says:

        I really don’t like soul memory. Any time you spend souls on things other than leveling, or double-die, you’re permanently behind anyone who didn’t. It doesn’t matter that much in low quantities, but if you double die a lot and buy a lot of armors to try them you, you could easily be 10 levels below someone in the same soul memory bracket as you. I don’t like that hanging over my head.

        It also means you can’t indefinitely coop. If I want to help people do the smelter demon, I have to eventually reroll my character because I’ve soul-memory’d out of range. Or I could just save scum, I guess.

        Maybe something where it calculates the souls spent on levels and the soul-value of your inventory and uses that instead. So if you never level up and don’t have any upgraded weapons, you can interact with low level people. If you put on your +10 doomsword, then you only interact with people who have a similar amount of soul power on/in their person.

  7. zachforrest says:

    We can all be honest now, DSII was a bit shite, (compared to DSI).

    Hopefully these new areas are more discrete spaces to explore, rather than long funnels of pain.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Yup. Yes. Indeed. Dark Souls 2 is a poor imitation of its predecessors, inane fan-fiction. Incongruous level design plastered with ill-placed packs of monsters. I gave up at Drangleic Castle. 12 heavily armoured statues and a few ruin sentinels, all in the same room. Sod that.

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        PikaBot says:

        You do realize that every enemy in that room has a very specific aggro pattern, and it’s very easy to take them on one-or-two at a time, yes?

        • fish99 says:

          It was still tiresome though. Since you could fight them all separately, what more did you prove by killing all five of those sentinels that you didn’t prove by killing the first one?

          • iniudan says:

            It didn’t prove anything, I just kill them because I want the loot they are guarding and access to the Pilgrim of the Dark covenant. One time I also farmed the sentry because I wanted a full set of their armor. Which sadly its look annoyed the hell out of me, when I finally got the helmet, as it keep the long slender neck on player character.

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            amateurviking says:

            I *hate* when that happens. I did the same with the Ironclad set. Killed a tonne of them, finally got all the bits, tried it on. Ugly as all sin and much weaker and heavier than what I was already using. GUTTED.

      • Volcanu says:

        Not to mention the fact you aren’t SUPPOSED to aggro all of them and indeed, barely need to fight any of them to progress. I think you actually only need to kill one of the statue blokes if memory serves….

        • fish99 says:

          If you’re on a blind first playthrough, you’re going to want to clear that area at least once though, otherwise you’re not going to be able to loot the rooms and find the dark covenant portal.

          • Volcanu says:

            True, but you could say the same for numerous areas in the Souls games. There’s always been a heavy element of learning from your mistakes and even a trial and error approach.

            I can understand if someone doesn’t like that in a game, but you cant legitimately cite that room as an example of Dark Souls II being shite when it’s predecessors weren’t…

            Its not like Dark Souls didn’t have areas with multiple tough enemies where killing them yielded little reward (Lost Izalith and it’s Bounding Demons perhaps)

          • fish99 says:

            It was still tedious. There was a lot of waiting for them to retreat because trying to kill a sentinel and 2 of the little dudes together was just asking for death, so you had to split them. Also if you got a few of the doors open and then died, after that 2 sentinels would trigger together, so again you had to split them. You also had to mess about killing them close to the doors/statue.

            It wasn’t so bad on my 2nd playthrough as a mage, but as melee it was annoying. First time I cleared that room I didn’t get the statue to activate so had to res everything and do it all again.

            DS1 generally wouldn’t have you kill 5 sets of the same group, all in a row, in one room.

      • Orija says:

        That has more to do with you than the game, son.

      • Nate says:

        I’ve heard this complaint (“too many mobs”), maybe from you, but I feel like it’s one of the things DaS has always done well, balancing boss fights and trash fights so that both are challenging and fun. That’s difficult: look at Batman games, Vindictus, and plenty of others, I imagine.

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      RedViv says:

      This is always a bit like going “Uch, that Adoration of the Magi is SUCH rubbish, look at Birth of the Venus, that’s where it’s REALLY at!”

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        Anthile says:

        What have the Magi ever done for us?!

      • zachforrest says:

        absolutely! DSII is a great game (was being a bit facetious). But I simply carved through it, always moving forward, with no sense of risk (thanks to teleporty bonfires).

        Also I was lore mad for DSI, I feel DSII is considerably weaker on that front.

        • Volcanu says:

          The lore is definitely weaker this time around.

          And it lacked the same (beautiful) atmosphere of oppressive hopelessness and deep sense of pathos that Dark Souls I had. The NPCs were far less memorable too- there were moments of Solaire and Seigmeyer’s story arcs that genuinely made my heart ache. Nothing in DS II moved me in the same way.

          For me though Dark Souls I is one of those moments where everything coalesces into perfection, and any attempt to recreate the formula will probably never quite reach the same heights. Its the same with great albums, great films or great art. Dark Souls is my “Purple Rain” of games.

          • zachforrest says:

            ‘Dark Souls is my “Purple Rain” of games.’

            So true.

            It killed me when I realised I was breaking Siegmeyers heart every time I didn’t let him save me.

            I hope they take a step back with this ‘Project Beast’ and consider a different approach

          • 65 says:

            Considering Project Beast is almost certainly going to be a PS4 exclusive, I could not give half a fuck about how it turns out.
            Excuse my language but From’s decision to chain themselves to Sony again seriously infuriates me.

          • dethtoll says:

            Boo hoo.

          • Viceroy Choy says:

            Never reach the same heights? They did it with Dark Souls after Demon’s Souls came out! While DeS lacked the polish of DaS, it more than made up for it with the atmosphere and simply amazing worlds. I infinitely prefer DaS because of the many mechanical improvements they made but DeS has heart.

            tl;dr Project Beast will likely be as stunning for how different it will be as Demon’s Souls was from Dark Souls.

          • Volcanu says:

            @ Viceroy Choy

            That’s a fair challenge. To clarify I was speaking from personal opinion, and Dark Souls was my first entry to the series and therefore in addition to the things I like about it from above, it also had the ‘wow’ factor that Demon’s probably had for you.

            I subsequently played Demon’s, and think it’s excellent, but it wasn’t the revelatory experience Dark Souls was for me. In addition I (slightly) prefer the world and atmosphere of Dark Souls, but that’s by the by.

            I agree that doing something sharing the same DNA, but not a direct sequel is probably the more exciting way to go – and I’m intrigued by Project Beast – is it definitely a confirmed thing? The bits and pieces I have seen suggest it could be a clever hoax or bits of Dark Souls ” DLC maybe…I sure hope not though!

          • zachforrest says:

            @Volcanu Not officially confirmed, all but, though

            http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-05-30-first-footage-of-from-softwares-project-beast

            A shotgun..ooooh

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        lasikbear says:

        It’s not that AotM is bad, it’s just clear that it was dumbed down to appeal to casuals.

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    PikaBot says:

    If these DLCs are even half as good as the Artorias of the Abyss DLC from Dark Souls 1, I am significantly pumped.

    • Geebs says:

      I kind of hope they adopt the same attitude of “okay, so you paid for DLC. Well, we’re going to make it nearly impossible to find, and then when you do reach it you will get utterly flattened, repeatedly, in the first five seconds”.

  9. Syme says:

    They did retract the no dlc statement and say it would “depend on fan demand”

    There is something jarring about how this just sounds like ordinary DLC. And yeah DS2 was a disappointment in comparison but I’m still going to be jumping right into this.

  10. Frye2k11 says:

    I bought ds2, liked it so much that i got ds1 to play that one first. First time i really used my 360 pad i have had for years. But when I accidentally killed an npc (the blacksmith right before Smough & Ornstein) at a particularly punishing part of the game, instead of starting a new game i started on ds2.

    I am about 8-10 hours in ds2 i summoned in another player a few times to test it but solo otherwise. They almost, but not quite, nailed the atmosphere, it really is a dark souls game. Same amazing models, cool knights in amazing looking armor bits of cloth flapping in the wind,.

    But i love how i can see places i previously visited from just about anywhere in ds1. (oh look! theres that bridge i died a dozen times on , except now im 300m below it!). Same opaque storyline i have no intention to understand but thats fine. The intricate level design is just not there. In ds1, when introducing something new, it would do so in a setting where the player is forced to play things the right way. Teaching you by killing you is a subtle thing : it has to be fair.. I remember the first trap in ds1 being in a spot with two very hard enemies at that level. The first time you walk into the room, the trap will kill you. But no problem, the bonfire is close. The second to tenth time you walk into the room the 2 enemies kill you or at least make it look like they’re too hard to be worth it ( at least thats what happened to me ;) ). THEN you notice the trap also hitting the enemies and it all clicks. Like kicking down a ladder and ending up in the same old familiar bonfire in ds1, I miss moments like that in ds2.

    Then theres the enemies tracking you during their long moves. Which is cheaty but okay. The problem is that their moves track you far more than their heads do, hitting you in places where they never looked. Making the fighting very unintuitive (he knew i was behind him but there is no way he could have known where exactly). You really have to memorise the move sets in ds2, common sense just doesn’t cut it. Sad thing is that the animations are beautifully crafted, i really like how those tracking animations are chained together without losing realistic momentum. (although sometimes they still look like they are standing on a record player). It is especially a problem in tight spaces with multiple enemies: lots of luck involved. I think it was intended to make backstabs less rewarding but for me it has me circling the enemy with raised shield a lot more. In ds1 you can see much earlier when a swing is going to miss.

    On the other hand magic can two-shot bosses in ds1 and i have framerate issues which is clearly bad porting and it requires 3rd party fixes.

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    SMGreer says:

    I surely cannot be alone in actually, mad as it may seem, preferring Dark Souls II? I readily admit some of the charm and atmosphere is lacking, the world design isn’t as intricate and there’s just a general lack of it feeling like something ‘new’.

    Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story more this time around as it seemed a bit less scatterbrain and more focused, thus easier to invest in. I honestly did not find myself emotionally invested in the first game at all, save for my companionship with Solaire. Vendrick and everything before and after all plays into this dire tragedy that’s different from the doom and gloom of the first game, managing to stand on it’s own whilst working in tandem with the themes of the first game. Then of course the game is largely better balanced, more fluid and more varied. It also just runs a hell of a lot better which helps make it easier to love. There’s no boss that comes close to the challenge of Ornstein and Smough in the first game but for me, that’s a good thing. Dark Souls II is a steady climb in difficulty overall, Dark Souls got easier over time.

    So yeah, I’m excited for more content, can’t wait to see what additions they make to the game.

    • Viceroy Choy says:

      I felt like Dark Souls 2 was very Bioshock 2/Uncharted 3. It feels much better mechanically (Bioshock 2) but the lows are way lower and highs are fewer but higher, while the majority feels middling (Uncharted 3).

      Personally, I loved how bosses really reinforced the message “Learn different weapon types (strike, slash, etc) and weapon effects (lightning, magic) and the game will make sense.”

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      J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      No, you aren’t alone! I also preferred Dark Souls II to the first game in many different aspects. Saying that, I will say I think DS II is an easier game, and perhaps that’s why I had a better time. I like a good, solid challenge, but I felt like I couldn’t progress hardly at all in DS. In Dark Souls II, I’ve been going on at a pretty good clip, learning the systems and becoming proficient at dodging, rolling, weapons, and so on.

      Of course, at this point I feel like going back to DS and seeing what I was doing wrong, and to hopefully play through it and enjoy it.

  12. Shooop says:

    It’s kind of poor taste not to fix the bugs and network issues that are still plaguing the game first.

    Another game to wait for the full package then.

    • MkMax says:

      well thats the thing about DLC

      a few years ago when a game achieved “gold” status the Q&A and devs were working full time on the “day one patch”, we hated that, “why must everything have a day one patch?” we used to said

      but since DLC is a thing when the game goes “gold” (or is waiting for certification) devs are working full time on DLC, support is often forgotten or left to a extremely small team that does little and Q&A doesnt even exist

  13. ColonelClaw says:

    I’m not a massive fan of DLC in general, but on the upside looking at the release schedule I’m guessing all 3 will be available as a heavily discounted pack during the Steam Xmas sale

  14. MkMax says:

    seems really expensive, i doubt the 3 episodes have half the game worth of content, ill probably wait for a sale

    • lordfrikk says:

      Expensive for what? We know literally nothing of the scope of these DLCs.

      • MkMax says:

        right, yet they are already selling it, i have to work with what i have

        my purchase decision with the information i have (“nothing”, which means im just using my general experience with dlc all of which are hilariously overpriced relative to the cost of the full game) is … “no, too expensive”

  15. fish99 says:

    These should have released in september as a single DLC imo, then you can play them all in a fresh playthrough with a new character, rather than in little bits and pieces over 3 months.

  16. jonahcutter says:

    I was so bored and underwhelmed with DS2, I could barely finish it. There were some high points, but just too many lows and weaknesses. By the second half I was often having to force myself back in. If the DLC ever ends up appealing, it can wait for a sale.

  17. Rakombo says:

    This makes me feel extremely annoyed,hopeful and a little glad at the same time.I think Dark Souls 2 was a horrible squeal,inferior in almost any way that matters to it’s predecessor.That said, I still think it was one of better games that came out this year.While looking through the upcoming releases I can’t see anything that particularly interests me,so having more DKS2 might be nice.

    What annoys me is the fact the game is riddled with design problems ,imbalances and shitty coding like the wonderful hitboxes.Instead of addressing those issues at least the ones that are completely objective(FIX THE HITBOXES DAMMIT) they spend their time on making fuckin dlc…The fuck?!?!

    I am hoping that the dlc will come with fixes to address some of those issues like Artorias of the abyss did with the console dark souls.But seeing how they handled the game so far I am not holding my breath.

  18. forddent says:

    I burned myself out on Dark Souls 2 for a while there, but this news has perked me up considerably. Now I shall have to finish playing (I think I still have a significant chunk of game ahead of me, I spent a lot of time playing around with the summoning and PVP systems) so I can get into this DLC biz.