Downloadable Coronet: Dark Souls II – Lost Crowns DLC

By Adam Smith on July 22nd, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

Hats are a core part of the gamer experience. Team Fortress 2 knows how strong the craving for sweet skull-socks truly is. Dark Souls takes itself a bit too seriously to join in with the hat hunting though. Like the sneering monarch that it is, From’s not-quite-as-much-of-a-masterpiece-as-the-previous-two is usually seen wearing a helmet in place of a hat. It anticipates an assault. Occasionally it’ll upgrade to a crown, which is essentially a very expensive hat that is too heavy to lob onto a hatstand. A DLC trilogy covers the retrieval of Dark Souls’ favourite posh hats and the first part is out today.

What we have here is a classic case of the first part being the least interesting part. I say that having judged the three pieces of DLC purely on the pictures below.

The crown of the Sunken King is in a big ol’ dungeon corridor.

Now we’re talking. The Old Iron King’s crown has some cool guardrails. A lot of good welding, as you’d expect from this chap.

Cor. The Ivory King has the best kingdom, mainly because it’s the one that looks least like the base game.

I’ve yet to venture into the Sunken King’s sanctum but from the chatter on the grapevine suggests it’s a quality expansion, with some neat environment-shifting puzzles. Maybe I’ll put a few hours of the weekend aside for another trip to Drangleic.

This expansion costs £7.99 and there’s a season pass available for £19.99 with the next two included. They’ll be out August 26th and September 23rd.

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46 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    As Dark Souls 2 was compared to Dark Souls 1, would it be fair to compare DS2 DLC to DS1 DLC?
    Reactions (from the Steam forums I browsed for about 5 minutes before turning away, my eyes blackening with rot, because… well, Steam forums) appear to be mixed, citing repeated enemies and short relative length.
    Without playing it, I’m going to assume that it’s essentially a pretty corridor with some tough fights, some easy fights, a couple of minor diversions, then the end boss. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s a return to the nooks and crannies of Oolacile.
    And yet the weird question nagging at the back of my mind is why haven’t I bought the season pass already?

    • Prolar Bear says:

      Polygon’s review is very positive and says that the DLC is the author’s favorite area from DS2, one that harkens back to the first game. It has no warp from the get-go, which does excite me.

      • kyrieee says:

        DS2 reviewed better than DS1 though, so that doesn’t tell me much.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Aye, because god forbid one might actually enjoy the second more.

          Even if that wasn’t the case, a responsible review should still slash some points from DS1 for the “quality” of the port alone, and it’s extremely likely that it was the case.

          As a last point, DS1 was the “first” game for a lot of people, it does something better and something worse than Demon’s souls and the same goes in comparison to the second one. They all have a lot of things in common and the novelty most definitely wears off, so the first one you played has a higher chance of being the “masterpiece”.

          I clearly remember when DS1 came out and a lot of the old PS3 players declared it was the worst piece of turd in the world.

          I liked all 3 games, but i might be defective, so don’t listen to me.

          • DonkeyCity says:

            All 3 had their moments, but I can’t imagine the metric for viewing DS2 as anything but the weakest by a significant margin – the level designs were uninspired, the bosses and enemies far less interesting or varied, the combat was less internally consistent, and the penalty for dying sapped a lot of the fun from exploring the world. I started with Demon Souls, which was great, and Dark Souls vastly improved on it, and Dark Souls 2 was its significant inferior in most – though not all – regards.

          • Gargenville says:

            Yeah I’ve played all 3 and actually enjoyed Dark Souls 1 the least. People complain about the PC port but the console version dropped to single digit FPS whenever you entered an area with a visual filter. It felt stale from the get go (oh look a dragon guarding a castle bridge full of undead soldier dudes I wonder where this is going) and the whole game was balanced around the idea you’d pick up tons of souls from online interactions, which would be a valid approach except the online never ever worked, making it brutally, unreasonably difficult in places in a way Demon’s Souls (solo) rarely was. For most of the game getting from A to B is a nightmare which for me meant that whenever I got to one of the FUCK YOU PLAYER areas like Blighttown or the Bed instead of getting on with it or backtracking for forty minutes in hopes of finding some other area to explore somewhere I’d just put the game away for months at a time.

          • pasports31 says:

            I liked all three games, and DS2 might be my favorite game I’ve played this year. I still think it’s the worst of the three games, however. Many of the bosses lack creativity, the lore/world is the least interesting of the three games, and the level design is by far the worst of the three. It’s still a fantastic game, but when compared to its predecessors, DS2 is lacking.

        • TheVGamer says:

          DA1 was actually a much harder game before it was released. It was harder for reviewers who were trying to finish it and the review up before the embargo, there were much less humanity drops and there was obviously no guide available for them to rely upon. Combine this with the fact it’s a long ass game and yeah, I think it’s understandable why DA2 was reviewed better – it was a better game (in that very specific instance)!

    • serioussgtstu says:

      In fairness most games could be described as “a pretty corridor with some tough fights, some easy fights, a couple of minor diversions, then the end boss.”

      • Geebs says:

        Yeah, but in fairness the original Dark Souls isn’t one of them :-D

  2. Scumbag says:

    Hope there is a complete edition at some point.

    • Kohlrabi says:

      Hope there will be a “remastered” version of Dark Souls 1 with Steam multiplayer and proper high-framerate gameplay at some point. Or even Demon Souls!

      • Camerooni says:

        Or they could patch it in like the old days – lol
        (Dark Souls I that is)

        /Bitter cynical old man

        • Zorlan says:

          Yeah… patches with free content?

          RIP

          While Bethesda actually did this with Skyrim, a lot of it was made by modders previously. I think that a lot of game devs could really use having a better relationship with its modders, take Watch Dogs for example. All those neat things from The Worse mod could easily be patched in and that would probably make the game sell even better on PC. But no.. stupid companies are stupid – they just keep making a game, releasing it and then bam, time to work on a new one!

          While they are old console titles, Square Enix did a pretty great thing with this with its FF 10, 10-2 and 12 titles, keeping some people to work on the titles after release to fix/add things that couldn’t be put in at launch and whilst not patching (since PS2), re-releasing the title in the form of an “international” version. Pretty neat since you could just wait for the updated title, provided you live in Japan.. :P

  3. Jockie says:

    So, I’ve finished this already. It’s short and the bosses aren’t great (the final boss of the DLC is quite hard but feels very similar to a boss we’ve met in a previous DS game) I do quite like the area and it has a few trick up its sleeve that get the pulse racing.

    Shame there are no new NPCs and the story is entirely in item descriptions from what I can tell (I think one of the bosses had a single line of VO, but that’s your lot).

    So yeah, it’s a decent chunk of Dark Souls, short but kinda sweet. I don’t think it quite lives up to my favourite DS2 areas (Iron Keep being personal fave).

  4. 0positivo says:

    I never understood why DS2 was considered inferior. To me, it always felt more thought out, more polished, more exciting. It speaks volumes the simple fact that I never even got to the end of DS1, whereas I’m now on my 3rd game+ on 3 different characters on DS2

    • Emeraude says:

      Still haven’t played it, but what I get from friend’s comments is that it hits a sort of weird middle-ground between Demon’s Soul and Dark Soul that doesn’t satisfy people that preferred either.

    • Junkenstein says:

      I loved DS2. For me, the open-ness made up for the slightly more disjointed macro level design, but more than that, it’s high quality all the way through. People seem to forget how (comparatively) shit DS1 becomes after Ornestein and Smough.

    • Distec says:

      Something about the levels/world being their own separate, discrete areas rather than a labyrinthine whole. That’s been the most common criticism I’ve seen.

      Haven’t played any of the games, since I don’t think I’m the kind of gamer built for the kind of experience it offers. I will say that my brother bounced off the first game really hard, but turned into a convert with the sequel. Bear in mind he approached the second game with the attitude of “Man, I failed so hard at DS1. I gotta make it right with DS2.” Matters of pride possibly played a part in that.

      • aliksy says:

        Yeah, it’s mostly the level design isn’t as good. There were a lot of amazing moments in Dark Souls 1 from the level design, like when you realized different parts of the world connected. Seeing the Duke’s Archives from the belltower. Seeing the belltower from Sen’s Fortress. Seeing the demon ruins from the giant tomb. Escaping the wyvern on the bridge and realizing it connected to the earlier bonfire. Stuff like that. DS2 has, like, the opposite of that, with like the iron keep being somehow over the earthen peak.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Here is everything that is wrong with Dark Souls 2.

      Not my video, but I agree with all of it. Particularly the often-linear, unimaginative level design full of similar enemy types (oversized humanoid which locks on to the player 360 degrees to an unfair degree), unreliable invincibility frames during rolls, erratic boss weapon hit-boxes, uninspired music…

      Dark Souls 2 is Dark Souls fan-fiction. The first two games are superior in every degree, except perhaps the character creation.

      • Stephen Roberts says:

        I’ve only got about 1/3rd through dark souls two (guessing) in two staccato bursts of playing it. It just hasn’t captured me. And it’s because of what you say there: “Dark Souls 2 is Dark Souls fan-fiction.” It feels like a fan project or the unearthed student project that Dark Souls was based on. That’s got a lot to do with animation quality, the aesthetics of player control, textures and so on. But it’s also to do with the starting videos, cutscenes and what not. And the quality and variety of sounds, such as player footsteps. It’s the amalgamation of all of what makes it a world that I, the player, am inhabiting, rather than a series of pictures.

    • Kysaduras says:

      I’ve played all three to completion and DS2 is my favourite by a clear margin. Since DS2 I’ve revisited the prequels and I stand by it. People that prefer the previous instalments I suspect are more vocal, for obvious and understandable reasons, so it seems a bit lopsided.

      Ultimately I don’t think many people would argue that there’s much difference in the core goodness of any of the games. They’re in a league of their own, competing amongst themselves.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      A lot of people never played the “real” first souls game, mostly because it’s a PS3 exclusive. Your first “souls” experience is extremely likely to automatically be the best one. Obviously it doesn’t go like this for everyone, but those who are affected will hardly ever admit it.

      They will instead keep beating the dead horse of the interconnected world design which, while admittedly IS pretty much some genius thing going for DS1, is not enough to cancel all the improvements that the second one made.

      As it is now, all 3 games have pros and cons, and i’d dare say that in retrospect they all fall short in something. If there’s a masterpiece in there, i’d say it’s in the whole franchise as a “concept”, rather than a specific episode.

      Souls game are all about their own soul ( !!! ), all of them are flawed and all of them are great.

      • Geebs says:

        I dunno, purely from having watched a let’s play it looks like a lot of demons souls was trudging through what was basically Blighttown without the charisma.

        Unfortunately, having loved DS2 initially I kinda feel it never gets any better than the less inspired bits of DS1, for all of its technical improvements.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Well, i can definitely admit that all the improvements in the sequel helped it a great deal, especially the technical ones. I never thought i’d ever invade someone else and before i knew it i was farming kills for the Blue Sentinels.

          The game worked properly and that made me play differently.

          I guess the only answer for me is an imaginary DS3 which combines DS2′s polish ( and gear/stats mechanics ), DS1′s brilliance in level design with a little more DeS’s overall darker mood.

          Imagine combining DS2′s steady degeneration death after death with DS1′s sadistic descent ( at least the first time ) deeper and deeper underground, which not only was cruel ( blight town ) but interesting from a world background and lore at large ( Ash lake ).

          Oh and more old-school style secrets, along with more material for the maddest theorycrafters out there.

          • Geebs says:

            Yes, I would buy the hell out of that! They had better get rid of the ridiculous weapon degradation though.

    • atejas says:

      The worst thing I can say about Dark Souls 2 is that at no point while playing it did I seriously consider stopping. The enemies were still tough, but the generous bonfire placement+warping+overall lack of really brutal, unforgiving levels means that DS2 lacks some of the despair (and subsequent triumph) I got from DS1.
      That, and the level design is wonky, as people have pointed out. I do think it’s quite a bit better mechanically, though.

      From what I’ve played of Sunken King, I think From might have paid attention. I’m getting some Tomb of The Giants/Blighttown vibes.

    • Lobotomist says:

      You know this argument is getting bit tedious.
      At the moments it sounds like one game is good and other is avoid at all costs.
      When in fact we are talking two awesome games where each one has personal favorite.
      In fact each have some good qualities other one doesnt.

  5. MkMax says:

    i would rather they used their time fixing Dark Souls 1, i want to buy that and gfwl prevents me from doing so

    • fish99 says:

      I guess I’m one of the lucky few in that I got all the way through Dark Souls on PC without GFWL killing me or my family.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        I would advise you to check your cat, how long since you last saw it?

    • neghinitza says:

      I couldn’t buy it on steam, because “its not availabe in my region” bullshit. I got it from GMG, added the key to steam and I had no issues making a GFWL account and playing.

    • Gargenville says:

      They’re actually in kind of a weird spot right now because From Software got acquired by Kadokawa back in april yet the Sunken King DLC is still going through Namco Bandai. It’ll be kind of interesting to see what happens going forward. (edit: they’re teaming with Sony for Bloodbone so I guess Kadokawa have no real problem having them work with other publishers even though they have an international game publishing presence of their own?)

      Also I just realized Demon’s Souls spent a million years in limbo before being picked up by Atlus for the US and then Namco Bandai for Yurp (which is what sparked off their whole bromance) but From Software had no problems self-publishing NINJA BLADE internationally. Because obviously, that’s the game to gamble the company on.

  6. Maxheadroom says:

    When I finished the core game I stupidly started a NG+ so I doubt I’ll ever pick this up as I’ll never want to trudge through half the main game again to get to the extra content.

    It not that i didn’t enjoy it, I really did! But the whole NG+ concept is lost on me. It’s like getting to the end of a book only to start again right back on page 1.

    • aliksy says:

      DS2 does things like change some of the fights and monster placement in NG+, so that’s a thing.

    • Premium User Badge

      felisc says:

      I’m actually starting the dlc for the first time on my ng+ . I guess I’ll hit some tough spots, but the bright side is (er, spoilers ? Maybe ?)I strolled super easily through the pit and black gultch, on my way to the dlc. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been any change made to these areas for ng+, so at least reaching the dlc is super quick, 20 minutes or so.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      I actually don’t mind trying to draw a couple parallels between games and books ( or movies, especially for some titles ), but in this case the comparison is incredibly far fetched.

      A big draw of any Souls game is the gameplay itself, the constant challenge and yes, even the frustration, but the real core is repetition and mastery. The whole idea of NG+ ( or ++, or ++++++++++++++++ ) fits in pretty nicely.

      Eitherway, going back to your book, considering the mechanics of story telling in this game you actually might want to restart reading from page one, the plot itself is rather simple but the idea behind it might not necessarily be grasped the first time ( and that’s before even mentioning fan speculations ), along with all the background stuff you easily can miss.

      Then again, it’s also possible you didn’t like the game that much to begin with.

    • atejas says:

      NG+ DS2 adds some new enemies and items. Some of them are significant enough that you could say it adds new plot-related stuff (in the sense that it adds new vague implications you can spend hundreds of hours piecing together on forums)

    • MistaJah says:

      You don’t have to play through half the game. Just buy the cat ring and hop down the hole.

      • Maxheadroom says:

        True but then I dont have access to the blacksmith without the key from Forrest of Giants, I cant upgrade my stuff without the enber from Iron Keep etc etc

  7. atejas says:

    I haven’t gotten to the bosses yet, but I’m really digging the level design. Shulva and the Dragon Sanctum have a lot of winding, labyrinthine passages that lead back into each other and snake off into weird little dead ends that turn out to be shortcuts later. Shulva’s verticality especially, is something I’ve never seen in the (Dark) Souls series.

  8. int says:

    Didn’t they say the game in its release state was the full game and that no DLC was ever coming?

    Also, didn’t they show the game look amazing, especially lighting-wise in E3 trailers from one or two years ago?

    • thebigJ_A says:

      No. They said, well before the game came out, that they didn’t yet have plans for DLC and they wanted the game at release to be a complete experience. Which they accomplished (regardless of one’s opinion of that experience). Now they’re releasing new content. No inconsistencies or problems there.

      The second point, yeah, they gutted the lighting so the consoles could run it. You can see their lack of experience in PC development with that kind of “logic”. But you can get the game looking very very nice with things like GeDoSaTo.

      • atejas says:

        I’m honestly not sure (Minor spoilers ahead). The Shrine of Winter was never really explained or expanded on, even by Dark Souls standards, and the fact that similar architecture shows up in the DLC means I think they always wanted to use it as a hook for later on.

  9. zentropy says:

    Dat Lol Content