Crownclusion: Dark Souls 2’s Ivory King DLC Released

What a beautiful place to murder everything.

We should have posted more about Dark Souls II, and our mistake was partially my fault. I had planned another big Dark Souls Nites livestream bonanza with music, guests, phone-ins, and other chilled-out late-night radio fun. Then my Internet connection took a nose-dive and I felt too tired and here we are, five months later, now Dark Souls II has three DLC packs we’ve barely mentioned. Sorry about that. The final chapter of its DLC trilogy ‘The Lost Crowns’ launched yesterday and please, do tell me about it.

Crown of the Ivory King visits an icy land with new areas, bosses, weapons, and armour. A crown is promised. One you can wear yourself, I should hope, rather than just a quest item. It’s on Steam for £7.99 by itself, or comes in the £19.99 season pass with the other two Crown packs. That seems a little steep, but what do I know?

A new patch (click the ‘Update’ button for details) also launched alongside the DLC, bringing bug fixes and balance tweaks.

Now that Dark Souls II has been out for a few months, how do you feel about it? I noticed, undeterred, that initial reactions were a little anticlimatic. Has it grown on you? Has the DLC expanded on things you felt it lacked or added things you didn’t know you wanted? I’ll host Dark Souls 2nite one day, I promise.

30 Comments

  1. Gog Magog says:

    “Advice for Juvenile Mushrooms” may well be the most important Dark Sauce-related thing on the entire internet.

  2. amateurviking says:

    I HATED IT but still played 100+ hours so er yes, HATE is perhaps a strong word.

    Let me try again:

    It WASN’T DARK SOULS, but was in fact CLOSE TO BEING DARK SOULS. And therefore PRETTY GOOD ACTUALLY but MILDLY DISAPPOINTING.

    Ugly too, by comparison, get the feeling lots changed WRT to the lighting model quite close to release. Also the world is a tragic collection of bits stuck together with no internal logic. Which is remarkably saddening after Undead Burg, Parish etc.

    • Viroso says:

      It was secretly the first 3D Castlevania title to be actually good.

      • commentingaccount says:

        I must be the only long time castlevania fan who likes Lords of Shadow 1(Haven’t played the sequel yet).

        I also liked Lament of Innocence. Curse of Darkness had a few good elements to it but overall it can go in the trash bin where the N64 games are.

    • LacSlyer says:

      To be fair, I think too many people were way too hyped up for this game and that’s more of why it’s a slight let-down than anything else. Because for every minor negative there’s a positive that at the very least negates the negativity. For instance, the less cohesive zones/world is outweighed by the sheer environmental variety of the zones. If there was one thing I disliked about the original Dark Souls, it was that the areas in the first few hours felt bland and dull because the zones we were in weren’t significantly different environmentally, making them more cohesive, but less creative in a sense. DS2 meanwhile, has less cohesion over zones, but the variety of the zones is outstanding and vastly superior to the first games. And then there’s the much more refined combat system, which the game revolves around that is superior to either previous game by far.

      I agree the game lacks the same atmosphere as the first two, but I also feel that’s blown out of proportion due to nostalgia and peoples’ expectations. Because DS2 may be inferior in a few minor ways to it’s predecessors, but it’s also superior in several ways as well, which never get discussed.

      • Hieronymusgoa says:

        I’m completely with you on that. DS2 felt different but where I saw negative stuff there was so much good stuff or let’s say more fleshed out things at the same time. And you can’t be blown away like with the first game. That is intrinsic for a successor be it a movie or a game or a tv show. Though it might happen from time to time that a successor surpasses the original.

      • Jdopus says:

        Yeah I agree, I enjoyed Dark Souls 2 a lot, and while I can see exactly why people feel the original was better, I still think it’s a solid game and a good entry in the series. It polished a lot of the buggy elements of the first game.

    • Nate says:

      Agreed.

      The first game is one that I will very likely return to every year or two until I can no longer find a way to get it running.

      The second game is one that I enjoyed, and certainly got my money out of, but I may never play it again.

  3. Volcanu says:

    General consensus is that it fails to live up to Dark Souls 1 as a contiguous whole, and lacks the atmosphere, pathos and tightness of vision of DS 1. The lore is quite a bit less interesting too. Nevertheless it’s still a very good game and the online functionality is unquestionably improved. In terms of level design it certainly feels more linear than Demon’s or Dark Souls 1 – bar one or two areas. The DLC actually features some of the best level design of the whole ‘experience’ and see’s FROM experimenting a little with new mechanics and some twists on the formula. They are really very good, but one cant help feeling like they are a glimpse of what might have been had FROM been a little braver and less reverential to the previous game. Also the fact that each DLC episode is a separate chunk, means they lack the ‘epic’ feel of the Artorias of the Abyss DLC – which was truly phenomenal.

    All that sounds perhaps a little negative. Dark Souls 2 is still undoubtedly the game I have enjoyed playing most in 2014, and well worth buying imo.

    • Niko says:

      That new locations is so snowy, it’s like my hometown. All in all, I’m enjoying the game a lot, although sometimes I do miss the first one’s atmosphere. Too bad it has this horrendous netcode.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Bottom line
      Dark Souls 1 was masterpiece, Dark Souls 2 is just awesome

    • Jockie says:

      I’m of the opinion that DS2 is less of an amazing ‘experience’ than Dark souls, it doesn’t come close to that feeling of the whole world battering you with each step, that you are some kind of legendary hero for actually mastering the bastard thing.

      On the other hand DS2 is a better ‘game’ and sure, it’s more ‘gamey’ as a result of this, but it has more coherency to the gameplay design (opposite is true of world design). As a result for me it has way more replayability in the way that you can sort of pick your challenges and revisit the areas you like, while rushing through those you don’t. It also has a proper PvP endgame and fully integrated online features, which keep me coming back to it.

      DS2 will never be heralded as a masterpiece in the same way as the first, but it’s still a bloody good game, the DLC is the icing on that already rather tasty cake (most literally with the new one).

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        Yup, mechanically DS2 is superior in virtually every way, but it isn’t as interesting in terms of lore and environment design while simultaneously leaning too heavily on its predecessor.

  4. Anthile says:

    I have played 346 hours in Dark Souls 2 and I even wrote a moderately popular Steam guide so I think I am qualified to have an opinion. I believe Adam was spot on when he said Dark Souls 2 is a better RPG than its predecessor but also a worse adventure. Creating a specific build is much more fun with with a much more open beginning but that comes at a cost of nonsensical world design. NPCs are also much less prominent but mostly static and one-note with the exception of Lucatiel. Still, even though From may have put their resources into Bloodborne
    In that regard the DLCs are more of the same. All three of them are exceptionally challenging, often bordering on cheap – from the many enemies with infinite poise to the insane, cheating phantoms. On the other hand, the level design is a massive improvement. All the new, three areas bring back that original Dark Souls feeling of large interconnected levels with many shortcuts, the feeling of seeing a place on the horizon and arriving there perhaps hours and many deaths later. It’s great. However, I did not enjoy the third DLC all that much. It looks gorgeous The first boss is amazing and but I hated just about everything else. Massive amounts of boring enemies, lots of backtracking and a terrible, terrible second boss. Pretty much all the worst aspects of Dark Souls 2 are present here.
    Oh, there is also a reward for beating all the DLCs but don’t expect anything grand – I know I was disappointed afterwards.

    • eggy toast says:

      “I say these things as a certified expert with double digit uppy-thumbs on a Steam community guide I wrote about swordfighting, “

  5. Zulthar says:

    Dark Souls 2 has better online and game mechanics than the previous game, but the lore and bosses are pretty crappy. It’s stil my favorite game of the year so far and I’ve enjoyed both DLC I’ve played. The first one had a great boss and the second was great fun all the way through. Looking forward to playing Ivory King tonight.

  6. Geebs says:

    I would love a DLC for Dark Souls 2 which flings anybody who dresses as an anime nightmare or carries any weapon larger and heavier than their actual body into the nearest sun. Both of the Souls games lose a lot of their atmosphere when you’ve got a lot of pink-haired goons in bikinis sprinting around running monsters through with a goddamn blunt object.

  7. baozi says:

    I play Dark Souls games despite the bosses and I hate that you have to fight your way to or run to them because it takes so many tries. Contrary to apparently many people I never feel like I’ve achieved anything special when defeating a boss; I’m just glad it’s over. So I took the chance in Dark Souls 2 to grind until the pests that lead to the bosses were gone. Perhaps not the best idea.

    Some bosses were nail-biting, some – with NPC summons – comparatively very easy. I think the DaS1 bosses were generally harder and more consistently so – but I can’t remember if you could summon NPCs! Don’t think I did.

    The only two wow moments I remember from Dark Souls 2 are that section with the dragon nests and some place where you move up (or down?) in an elevator and look on a forest when you exit. Those moments were nice, visually. But there was nothing in Dark Souls 2 like that eery path to and meeting the undead dragon in Dark Souls 1. I thought that was pretty special.

    I’m sure I’ll get the DLC – but only when it’s on sale.

  8. GameCat says:

    DS2 is very excellent game, but rather medicore Souls.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Well said. Funny though how a mediocre Souls game still beats most triple a products in so many ways.

  9. Davie says:

    The only thing DS2 is missing compared to its predecessor is the interconnectedness of the world. Having a single hub with a bunch of tentacley paths coming out that basically never overlap is just not very interesting, and occasionally leads to total weirdness (From the third floor of Earthen Peak, you take an elevator up to find yourself in the sunken, half-underground lava lake of the Iron Keep). It also makes the story feel a little less cohesive, since everyone’s motives aren’t all necessarily tied to the same place.

    Just about everything else I think it does better though. The biggest thing is the difficulty curve–the nastier fights were still immensely challenging, but never felt like complete bullshit. In the original DS it took me probably four hours of repeated frustration to get past the rooftop archers in Anor Londo, and then six months of repeated attempts to make it past Ornstein and Smough. At that point it felt less like a challenge and more like “Haha fuck you and your desire for fun”. DS2 feels a little more balanced. I’m sure that’s just utterly sacrilegious of me to say, but there it is.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Those archers. Did someone think that was fun? The first Dark Souls did have moments where it seemed intent on punishment as opposed to enjoyment. Capra comes to mind; the Archers.

      The real problem though was that everything before O&S was so amazing that afterward the game kind of…underwhelmed.

      • baozi says:

        It’s really strange, I didn’t even know the rooftop archers were supposed to be difficult. Guess I got lucky. Or am I thinking about something else? The Capra Demon though…

      • mechabuddha says:

        I have to both agree and disagree. Yes, after O&S, the game didn’t feel as amazing. But I don’t think that was because it actually was less amazing — I think it was because after developing the skills to beat O&S, nothing else could compare. Nito? See ya. Four Kings? Whatever. Seath? Cheese. Now if O&S came *after* those guys, there wouldn’t be an issue. A pacing problem, I suppose is what I’m saying.

        • fish99 says:

          Guess you never played the DLC. I’d say Artorias, Kalameet and to a lesser extent Manus are all potentially harder than OnS, depending on playstyle, and I’m assuming most people leave them until after OnS. TBH I didn’t find any of the bosses in the regular game that hard (maybe I was over-levelled when I beat OnS I dunno), but Artorias and Kalameet took me 6 hrs each.

          Artorias is probably my favourite boss fight ever, it really taught me how to play the game (pure melee).

    • nemryn says:

      Or starting in the flooded Heide Tower of Flame, then going down in to No-Man’s Wharf.

  10. Ham Solo says:

    Is the control system better than the one on Dark Souls 1? I don’t own an XBox-controller and use the mouse and keyboard, but the game only tells me the controller commands “PRESS X TO DO THIS”, “PRESS A TO DO THAT”, and no matter how i change the camera sensibility, it always changes tempo and I either can’t turn around quickly or it turns way too fast and I can’t stop it.

  11. TomA says:

    I liked the way it carried on the theme of talking cats selling you equipment.

  12. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    DS2 feels like a “best of…” album. It contains all the best aspects of Demons and DS1 but it lacks the atmosphere and cohesion of either of those games. It is, however, really fun. Not a word you expect to use about a souls game, but there’s something about the streamlining of fast travel, regular bonfires, dedicated multiplayer areas and variety of locations that make it like a real pick and mix of “ooh, what should I do next?” player choice. As a game it is brilliant. As a reverential journey of self-flagellating discovery that forces you to march ever onwards into the abyss, not so much. Although, there is a level where you totally have to do that.

  13. linea says:

    Yeah, I’ll pretty much concur with a lot of people above- it’s a mechanically superior but atmospherically inferior (a few stunning areas aside) game to the first Dark Souls.

    Mind you, I preferred the claustrophobic, psychologically weird atmosphere of the original Demon’s Souls to that of Dark Souls 1 as well.

    I think the fact that it wasn’t made by the From Software ‘A’-team was kind of evident- long before the Bloodborne announcement I strongly suspected that they were working on something else just from the patchy, uneven nature of the environment design in DS2 and the comparatively unimaginative boss designs.

    Mind you I’ve completed it on PS3 and am now 2/3rds of the way through a PC playthrough in order to do the DLC, also doing a cooperative SL1 playthrough with some friends *and* I’ll do NG+ as well so I still absolutely love it despite my slight reservations- the Souls games do make everything else bar Spelunky seem quite boring in my opinion.