Have You Played… Dark Souls 2?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Dark Souls > Bloodborne > Dark Souls 3 > Demon’s Souls > Dark Souls 2.

But if you like the rest, you should still play number 2. It’s good. Being good just isn’t quite enough when you’re born into a family of geniuses.

First of all, let’s acknowledge the blood-starved elephant in the room. Bloodborne isn’t on PC and that is a horrible, terrible, no-good shame. It upsets me so much, in fact, that I sometimes have to storm away from my computer in disgust and flounce onto my couch where I play Bloodborne on my PS4 for the rest of the night. It’s a hard life.

Dark Souls 2 is on PC though. I reviewed it and I remember frowning a lot while I was writing the review. As I’ve said, it’s not a bad game, but it doesn’t have the spirit of its predecessors (I’m including Demon’s Souls as well). It feels like a cover version.

Strangely, the rather brilliant Dark Souls 3 made me like Dark Souls 2 more. I think it’s because now I know that the disappointing middle chapter will never stand as the final word in Souls. It’s a stumble but it manages to turn that stumble into the kind of satisfying roll that the series does so well. And now you can get a complete version, Scholars of the First Sin, which improves the base game as well as including all of the rather excellent DLC.

Yeah, Dark Souls 2 is the worst Dark Souls game. That’s not a bad thing to be though.


  1. GameCat says:

    After playing DS3 and Bloodborne DS2 feels just like clunky mess of broken mechanics – soul memory is worst idea ever, durability can go screw itself, hitboxes are all over the shop place, level design is something out of bad PSX game, it looks worse than DS1 and maybe even DeS, powerstances suck except of a very few weapon combinations etc. etc.

    Yet I still played it for at least 200-300 hours. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Barts says:

      Finally got you to admit it was the worst! Hah!
      (Sorry bystanders, GameCat and meself had been arguing about this for quite some time.)

      Ahem. Now let me add something more constructive to this thread.

      Dark Souls 2 is the game I hate. Played PS3 closed beta, loved it. Saw gameplay trailers, loved it. Bought extra special edition on day one for bigger bucks than what I normally spend on games, just to show my support to From Software.

      And then I discovered that gameplay was annoying (more unfair bits than in Demon’s Souls), gone was intertwined level design of Dark Souls (mostly linear corridors), story didn’t make sense at all (even compared to barebones plots of previous Souls), NPC characters were unlikable and without personality (waste of Peter Serafinowicz’s voice, that one), game reused Dark Souls assets, bosses were mostly variation of “evil dude in armour”, the amount of grind was making the whole thing tedious… The list goes on, don’t want to echo GameCat’s one above. I’ll just add my favourite “wtf” moment – going up on an elevator from the top of lonely tower only to arrive at castle submerged in lava. Whaaat? Why? Because screw logic, that’s why.

      What made it even worse was that the things promised in gameplay trailers and beta were changed, including scaled-down graphics and no darkness shrouding some levels that would force players to choose between torches and weapons (really cool concept).

      Some time later was revealed that Miyazaki was only superficially involved, working on Bloodborne instead, while the development of DS2 was given to a new team. And that was really nasty trick, a real slap in the face, something one would expect from EA or Ubisoft, but not From Software. Sold my fancy limited edition, never came back. Haven’t bought Souls game ever since.

      • Barts says:

        EDIT: not from From Software. One “from” too few. What’s with the edit time window now, is it really seconds?

        • Premium User Badge

          Qazinsky says:

          It just seems to have disappeared, along with the possibility to click the authors name under the title.

      • michelangelo says:

        Pretty much my words. And acquiring and selling is exactly the same story my copy of the game had.

        But lesson learned, since DS2, we know that there is From Soft’s second team (I call them “B”), which did DS3 as well (correct me, if I am wrong on this) and that’s why I was not even interested.

        Also, Miyazaki director means, by such job definition, less influence and time for actual development. We will anytime soon know any kind of inside info of how it really went with him and Souls sequels or even Bloodborne.

        And Bloodborne had its flaws either (Chalice genericity, safe railings everywhere, some locations were hit/miss to me—hexagon nightmare, Hunter’s dream), but generally, it was a really fun thing to play and fresh air for the basic formula and on top of it beautifully(!) fused with Lovecraft, filled with charming characters and bosses were a pure awesomeness.

    • Williamson Joshua says:

      Does anyone want to help me beat the game without dying?

  2. Faldrath says:

    I would have liked DS2 a whole lot more if it had 50% less enemies, or something, and if the enemies actually leashed after a reasonable distance.

    I also dislike tying roll effectiveness to a very obscure stat – a newbie will almost never think of leveling Adaptability, and therefore will suffer a lot as a result.

    That being said, a couple of areas (and the almost entirety of the DLC) are really really good.

    • Addie says:

      It’s quite obnoxious that your agility score is not shown on the character stat page; both so that it would be obvious that adaptability actually does something, and so that you can see whether you’ve crossed one of the breakpoints for an extra iframe while rolling. Having to download the equation for the attunement + adaptability => agility relationship in order to make sure you’re not wasting level ups is a real pain.

      Having completed both DS2 and DS3 at Soul Level 1; DS3 is a stiff challenge, but gives you all the information you need to do it. DS2 makes you fiddle about on external websites to know that having the ladle off-hand, the stat-boosting ring from Eleum Loyce, and two items from the peasant set, gives you just enough adaptability for an extra iframe when rolling, which helps enough to beat the last few bosses.

      DS2 is still one of my favourite games, though. So many builds are viable, especially in multiplayer – DS3 looks great, but is much less versatile for I-wonder-if-I-could-do-this runs. And DS2 doesn’t have the split damage issue which makes nearly all the boss weapons useless.

      • vahnn says:

        A couple friends and I were just playing DS2 until a few weeks ago. It DOES show AGI in the stats screen. And when you press the Help button and select it, it says that it improves your roll and increases the speed at which you use healing items. I think…

  3. Freud says:

    I have. It’s a bit too long, there are too many enemies between bosses so it feels a bit grindy and the bosses don’t feel as memorable as the bosses in Dark Souls.

    Still a solid 8.5/10 game though.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Yup, too long is definitely a complaint I’d have. I could never be bothered to get past NG+1 on DS2, while I’ve quite comfortably gone to NG+3 on DS3.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Dark Souls 2 was fun because I could actually beat it. I could not beat DS1, and never have.

    DS3 I won exactly once.

    That said, yeah, the level design was all over the place and that was massively to its detriment. That was at least partially fixed in DS3, thankfully.

  5. gabrielonuris says:

    I like to think as if Dark Souls 2 was a souls game made by Ubisoft.

    • Ragnar says:

      Dark Souls 2 was an open world game absolutely littered with collectables and a map obscured by icons? What?

  6. Murdock says:

    I was my first Dark Souls game, so, it has a special place in my heart regardless of everything.

    • Bomarty says:

      Same here! DS 2 is my favorit despite it perhaps not being the best souls game.

    • Robert The Rebuilder says:

      It was also my introduction to the series. Given that it’s at the bottom of the heap, it’s probably best to work your way from worst to best.

  7. Vandelay says:

    I think you got that top order wrong. Bloodborne and Dark Souls need to be switched. Although Dark Souls will always hold a special place for me, being the first of the series I played, after a couple of frustrating aborted attempts, Bloodborne felt like the one where the whole gelled together perfectly. Dark Souls 3 feels similar in that regard, but does suffer from being the 5th game to follow the same formula. Bloodborne avoids this mostly by having a completely different setting.

    Dark Souls 2 is without a doubt the weakest of any of them. I recently played it again and I found it to be in a real mess balance wise, with some early areas being frustratingly hard and then numerous bosses just being a cakewalk. The much lauded DLC is better than the base game, but also filled with some frustrating areas, such as the worst section in any souls game, the Frigid Outskirts.

    Rather than compare it to a cover version, I would go with it being like a tribute act. It wants to emulate the original and knows how to play all the chords, but the energy and passion just isn’t there.

    Never played Demon Souls, unfortunately. I hope that they get around to doing a re-release of that, even if I have to get it for PS4.

  8. pookie101 says:

    Nope never touched any of them and it’s funny having people rave about the difficulty.. Amateurs now true difficulty that will haunt your nightmares decades later.. Ghosts and goblins

    • Daymare says:

      Sounds like you got the wrong idea what a SoulsBorne game’s about.

      Your loss I say.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      You should play them, great lore, world building and level design.

      It certainly can’t really compare to say Wizards and Warriors: Fortress of Fear and some of those classics which I wouldn’t replay today.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        Compare in difficulty I mean. Did they remove the “edit” again?

      • BTAxis says:

        I enjoyed playing Dark Souls, but its approach to lore is not for me. It’s highly regarded by many for making you hunt all the item descriptions and the environment for clues to piece it together, but groan. No. Life’s too short already.

        So all I really got from it is “undead guy kills other undead a lot. Fire is important”. Still enjoyed it though.

        Edit: the edit is on a 5 minute timeout these days.

        • Emeraude says:

          I always have some issue with that call for efficiency for escapism.
          “I want to waste my time away without wasting time” is such a weird proposition.

          • Emeraude says:

            Sorry that didn’t come right.
            You’re obviously entitled to your preference of fun activity, and time of digestion *is* qualitatively important. But the statement does feel weird to me. And I’ve heard it a lot recently.

          • Ragnar says:

            I think it’s a matter of perspective. Some people love learning the lore from reading item description. Others find reading item description inherently boring, try to spend as little time in menus and submenus as they can, and think that putting the lore in item description is less of the player discovering it and more of the developer intentionally obfuscating it.

            Given that item description are often inconsequential filler, you may be overjoyed to find good descriptions or annoyed that you have to spend your time reading something that years of gaming has taught you to ignore.

    • basilisk says:

      I honestly think that describing the Souls games as difficult is deeply misleading. Because they’re not. I’ve played many far harder games in my time, and I’m not particularly skilled.

      They don’t hold back when you make a mistake, that is true, but what they ask of you are not superhuman feats of dexterity and endurance, but rather patience and concentration.

      It’s not about the difficulty. It never was about the difficulty. “Prepare to Die” is just a marketing slogan that was unfortunately far too successful.

      • wcq says:

        “The souls games are difficult” and “the souls games are not difficult” are statements that are repeated in an endless loop on the internet, because everyone has a different definition of difficulty.

        I mean, I would describe something requiring a lot of concentration and patience as difficult.

        • Emeraude says:

          It’s not about whether they’re difficult or not. It’s about whether they are defined by difficulty or not.
          And really, I do think the difficulty threshold here is a mean to an end, not an end in itself.

      • Ragnar says:

        Difficulty is subjective. I’m much better at my friend at FPS games, but he breezed through the first boss of Demon’s Souls without a single death while I struggled.

        Also, “difficult” can be appealing in a way that “punishing and repetitive” isn’t.

    • fish99 says:

      “Nope never touched any of them”

      Which makes you ill qualified to judge them. They aren’t hard for the sake of it. Ghosts and Goblins is an arcade game, i.e. designed to take your money, give you a few minute of fun and then end your game.

      Do you only enjoy super hard games?

  9. Colthor says:

    I disagree that Dark Souls 2 is worse than Demon’s Souls; the lack of bonfires makes getting back to retry bossfights even more time-wasting and tedious than it is /with/ bonfires.

    (And I’m of the opinion that there has never been a good boss fight in all of videogame history, so adding to the boring faff of slogging through them isn’t going to win me over.)

    I’ve finished Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2, but I’ll never finish Demon’s Souls.

    • keefybabe says:

      Exactly this. Demons is the worst of the bunch. Still Brilliant though, all these games are absolutely superb.

    • digital_sneeze says:

      Definitely. Demon’s Souls was a great first try but everything about it feels prototypical. The hub-based nature of it; somewhat jankier controls and animation; terrible weapon progression system and quite frankly the least interesting atmosphere and art-design. Unless you really like grey castle / brown cave / grey ruins / brown swamp. Tower of Latria was the only area with real personality. That all being said I think it has some of the most interesting and memorable approaches to bosses: the deaf Old Hero, the not-really-a-boss Maiden Astraea, the thinking out of the box Fool’s Idol. And Storm King is still probably the coolest boss in the series.

      That being said I’d still take the clunky and weird Dark Souls 2 over it, as hard as it is to play after 3. Once you get into the slow nature of it it really works as dodging enemy and boss attacks becomes skill based, rather than the spam-rolling of 3.

    • LexW1 says:

      What utter rubbish. Demon’s Souls is the best of the bunch. Dark Souls is distinctly inferior, but DS3 is by far the best of the DS games (far better than DS), DS2 by far the worst.

      I feel like this is nonsensical PC gamer revisionism, frankly. Half the people saying Demon’s Souls wasn’t as good haven’t actually played Demon’s Souls, I would be willing to bet. Certainly not seriously, and certainly not at the actual time, rather than years after playing DS.

      • digital_sneeze says:

        There’s nothing better about Demon’s Souls compared to any of the others. Mechanically, content and, subjectively, artistically weaker. Sounds like you have rose-tinted “first game of the series I played” syndrome to me, but then it’s easy to throw out unverifiable nonsense than coming up with examples isn’t it. I’ve played Demon’s Souls through twice, for what it’s worth. Enjoyable, but lacking much of what was offered later in the series.

        Just saw your other comment though. It sounds have you’re having issues accepting that people don’t like it as much as you do. People experience things. Get over it and move on.

        • digital_sneeze says:

          things differenly*

          • digital_sneeze says:

            Demon’s Souls:

            Objectively smaller, in terms of game size, playtime (around 25 hours for me I think, the others were 35 – 60), available weapons, armour and playstyles.

            Terrible implementation of World Tendency (a good idea though).

            Healing Herbs. Archaic idea which doesn’t fit the game, and the fact you can grind for them tanks your idea it’s the hardest game.

            Ungodly amounts of grinding to max out some of the weapon paths. Grinding is fine, but not to this degree. I don’t think I ever bothered to max out the sharp path.

            And then there’s the technical inferiority regarding framerate and resolution, something which affects both the gameplay and aesthetics, despite anyone’s protest.

            There is truly nothing objectively better about Demon’s Souls. This is why your incredulous attitude to people that don’t like it as much as you doesn’t fly. I don’t like it much because it doesn’t feel as good to play, because the levels aren’t that interesting to look at and experience, because the music isn’t as good. Because it doesn’t offer as many ways to play the game, on top of everything else I said previously. Put that down to “PC gamer revision” if you want but that still sounds like something you concocted to help deal with your inability to come to terms with differing opinions and experiences.

  10. Daymare says:

    I’m actually on a reverse run since I couldn’t beat ’em when they came out. First I did a full run of was BB.

    Currently only Midir and Gael left in DS3. Then it’s DS2 and I suppose when that’s finished DS Remastered will be out.

  11. Chaoslord AJ says:

    The game had its moments like the invisible enemies in the mist, lol. I’ll revisit after the DS remaster obligatory replay later this year.

  12. wcq says:

    It’s not awful, all in all, but it’s still the only Fromborne game I’ve never replayed or had any interest in replaying.

    These games always have at least one area that’s an awful slog to go through (usually the swamp level), but I remember DS2 having more of them than any of the others, mostly because of the hordes of enemies that needed to be carefully dealt with on every attempt. The Gutter, Iron Keep, Shrine of Amana, etc. It just became work after a while.

  13. Emeraude says:

    I really think having teleport from the start is a bad thing from a design standpoint for those games. Which I guess is the perfect way to sum up where I’m coming from about this one in preamble. Big issue I have with DaS2 is that level design of individual zones can be hit and miss and they never really manage to coalesce into a cohesive working whole – from both a pure game design design and narrative standpoint.
    As far as that latest is concerned, one of the things I love about Dark Souls that both sequels, and especially Das2, didn’t really manage to re-iterate (probably because the original did it partly by accident, by sheer virtue of tapping into such powerful, deep-rooted, raw mythic imagery) is how it straddles the thin line between the allegoric and the literal, between the symbolic and the figurative, without ever picking a side, by conjoining those narrative elements with gameplay elements.

    DaS2 tries – and does some really interesting things with exhaustion and difficulty – but in the end just goes overboard there’s too much stuff at once, and the units don’t mesh – they even go at cross purpose at times. It’s too bad, because from the few levels in which it works (the Gutter being the obvious big one), I so much like both the theme and gameplay of bringing light to the dark places. There’s something very powerful there that the game clearly intended to capitalize on yet never really managed to in the end.
    But then there’s still a strong thematic cohesion to some of the mechanical aspects of DS2 . The central theme of exhaustion, self-consumption, relinquishment and the refusal to let go *is* there. The problem is that it’s built on foundations, and along other conflicting mechanics that do not gracefully welcome it.
    For example, the Company of Champions covenant invalidates by itself so much of what the rest of the game is trying to build. And you understand *why* it’s there – it certainly fits a purpose for pve, but then it doesn’t thematically mesh at all with what seems to be the aimed central focus of the game. It goes at cross purpose.

    All that being said, from a level design standpoint, I do think it has some of the best individual zones. DaS1 is a better album than 3, and 2 feels like a weird collection of singles and B-sides so to speak, a bit schizophrenic. Like the team didn’t know whether it wanted to do DS2, a new King’s Field, or something altogether new built on those two’s legacies.
    And it shows in some zones. You’ll notice a cornucopia of new items that allow you to refresh spent spells, repair gear, get HP back without using Estus… those are actually made somewhat necessary by some of the zones – especially some of the later ones, the DLCs, which feel a lot like a long term resistance-based, King-Field-like design, by opposition to the more arcade-like design generally associated with Souls games. If you’re not expecting it, it can turn the table on you, since you’re not really playing the same game anymore, and no one really warned you.

    At the same time, some of the things DS2 tried – if only difficulty management by the player – were really interesting and worth digging/re-iterating, even if I do believe they’d fit better for other games. And as an experiment, even if a failed one, I do find DS2 makes for something altogether more compelling than DS3.
    But then compelling doesn’t mean good, or fun. Quite obviously.

  14. Edgewise says:

    I disagree on the premise that Demon’s Souls was the second worst in the series. I’d put it past DS3 and I have no opinion about Bloodborne, not having played it. Demon’s Souls was a bit sloppier in the design than any of the subsequent games, but it was also a little wilder and more experimental than any of those. I’m replaying DS1 right now, and I do think it’s the best of the series, but already I can see it start to ossify the boss fight strategy of stick close and time your rolls. The boss fights in Demon’s Souls might have been a little unbalanced and wonky, but they were also strange and unpredictable.

    Maybe it’s just because I played Demon’s Souls back when it was an underground hit and I have a bad case of hipster syndrome. But I have very distinctive memories of being pulled into this weird and threatening world where you never knew where death would come from next.

    • LexW1 says:

      You’re not the hipster, people claiming Demon’s Souls was worse than the other games are.

      It’s a PC gamer thing. You go somewhere where most people are console gamers, or particularly Playstation gamers, there’s absolutely no way in hell Demon’s Souls isn’t ahead of at least two DS games, sometimes all three. But PC gamers haven’t, by and large, actually played Demon’s Souls at all, or if they have, it was several years after it came out, and probably after they played Dark Souls and possibly DS2 or even 3 on PC, and likely very briefly.

      The idea that Dark Souls is the best of them is just terminally awful I’d say though. It’s about 60% good, 40% fucking awful. There’s tons and tons of the game that really could and maybe should have been cut, and it’s just not particularly well put-together. But for an awful lot of people, it was their first Souls game, so to them all the other Souls games are inferior, even though it’s nigh-impossible to argue DS3 isn’t straightforwardly superior to Dark Souls, I’d suggest.

      You’re quite right re: Demon’s Souls being actually strange and unpredictable in ways DS1 totally wasn’t. Further, the bonfire system made DS1 drastically safer and smaller-feeling than Demon’s Souls. Demon’s Souls is a lot harder, too, in a very practical way, that I think offends some people who can manage to deal with Dark Souls, because of the bonfires and flasks, but can’t really hack the extremely extended staying alive required by Demon’s Souls.

      • digital_sneeze says:

        Demon’s Souls was the easiest of the lot. It never offered challenges seen in other games of the series. The only hard bit was the Maneaters and even they pale in comparison to other bosses in the series. Some difficulty could be attributed to the poorer animation, which is not a testament to the game. If PC gamers found Demon’s Souls the worst it’s because they experienced the best of what a Soulsborne game could be, instead of the somewhat cut-down experience of Demon’s Souls.

        Demon’s Souls was highly innovative and even experimental, but thank God it was refined and made better in later iterations.

      • digital_sneeze says:

        Also, there are plenty of arguments one could levy at DS3. It, at times, feels more like a remix, resting on the laurels of its previous entry’s elements to create the content of the game. It feels more linear than most others, when it’s the genius, open level design of DS1 that people really covet. You could even argue that the melding of Bloodborne’s faster pace into the Dark Souls world doesn’t always work that well. Seeing knights in armour diving about the place like gymnasts looks silly, and almost all of the bosses can be spam-rolled to success with little skill. It also takes away some of the weighty feel of the heavier weapons. Far from being “nigh-impossible to argue” against.

        • Edgewise says:

          I think DS3 has the most fluid and advanced combat in the series (pardon my ignorance of Bloodborne), although I think it is starting to move away from the elegant simplicity that characterizes the rest of the series. The map design was the worst. I’ll give Dark Souls I the crown for the best map design and the best spacing of bonfires. They really get too close together starting with DS2, and that made the game a lot easier for me.

          • digital_sneeze says:

            DS3 does feel the best (more or less the same as Bloodborne if I remember right; probably due to it being on the same engine). The controls feel super sensitive and precise which makes the previous DSs feel wonky. I do think it was a tad too fast for it’s own good at times though, but that being said if I played a slower version of it I would probably complain. I just wish I didn’t beat so many of the bosses and feel right after that I didn’t even earn the victory and that I wasted a fun learning experience. In Bloodborne I never had that feeling as playing as the Hunter I felt like I was supposed to have that agency (and sidestepping looks way cooler than rolling) and that bosses were built around those abilities, unlike DS3 which felt like some kind of hybrid approach. Some of the bonfires in DS3 it were ridiculous though, some of them being in almost eye-shot of each other.

            To be honest the best Soulsborne game would be one derived from various elements from all the games. I don’t think any are perfect, though Bloodborne is probably the closest to technically being the best and most consistent, if you ignore the framerate and patently un-Soulslike Chalice Dungeons.

  15. michelangelo says:

    Dark Souls 2 is a horrible misunderstanding of the Souls essence that’s entertaining to me. I sold preordered copy super quickly and luckily with a little money loss.

    Also, my order sentence would be: 1st Dark Souls, 2nd Bloodborne, 3rd Deamon’s Souls and a rest of the list which doesn’t matter/nor exist.

    And my advice, dear reader, would be, don’t waste your precious time with this thing.

    • fish99 says:

      Reading these comments, clearly there’s not just me that had a good time with DS2 overall despite the issues it has, so personally I wouldn’t advise any fan of the series to avoid it. The DLCs are especially fun.

      Also the Scholars version did fix some of the issues it has by smoothing out the difficulty curve.

      • michelangelo says:

        I ain’t care about difficulty. It wholely missed everything, that made me love 1st Dark Souls. The sequel has a straightforward story and a silly one, hardly aligning with my own ideas whom 1st game inspired me to. Sequel’s environment (a main character in the 1st game) were flat, grey, without personality, generically fantasy-is and with no structural logic to it what so ever. And don’t take me wrong, but I am not even trying to be objective or reflective about fans it has. Because everything has its own audience and fans, literally.

        • fish99 says:

          I’d probably agree with a lot of your criticism of it, I’m just saying people should still give it a shot, especially if they’re fans of the series.

  16. AccursedBear says:

    I really like DS2, but it never felt anything like the other Souls games to me. It feels more like a regular RPG, probably because the animations are much worse than any other game on the series and everything I did felt more unreliable. So I grinded some cool armor (which I never managed to complete a set of, because someone thought making enemies despawn permanently was a good idea) and every time I got to a bonfire with some items I went back to Majula and upgraded armor and weapons, something I barely cared about in any other Souls game. I also used and abused the bow 10x more than DS or DS3 and the game ended up taking twice the time even if it’s not really any longer, and even if my deathcount was probably a fraction of the one I had on DS3. The level design in all but the DLC locations also felt completely different from anything FromSoftware would make, and the bosses are consistently bad and low effort. In Demon’s they were consistently bad but rarely low effort, and Dark Souls is the complete opposite from consistency and somehow ranges from Orstein and Smough to 3 versions of the tutorial boss, the Capra Demon and the Bed of Chaos. Thankfully even if they’re consistently bad they’re also consistently easy, with a few exceptions.

    The one thing I completely dislike is how the game is filled with what I’m going to call dick moves, such as having you either put 20 levels into a worthless stat if you want to roll properly, putting the only good and hard boss of the base game behind several powerful knights which agro from 10 miles away on a tiny bridge, not giving any starting class a decent shield, taking away health each time you die and making the one thing that reverts that a limited and rather hard to get item, etc.

    Btw, Dark Souls 3 > Bloodborne > Demon’s Souls > Dark Souls > Dark Souls 2. Dark Souls would probably be higher if it just ended in Anor Londo or maybe the Duke’s Archives.

    • Caradog says:

      Although I’m not a fan of DS2, like you I loved the Smelter Demon. I also thought it was a dick move putting all those knights where they did. Generally that area is poorly designed, and not very interesting, and the knight placement before that boss fight was incredibly frustrating.

  17. Viral Frog says:

    I’ve not yet played DS2, but I do own it. Of the games I’ve played (1 and 3), DS3 > DS. The only reason is that I could never get multiplayer to work on DS, whereas I jumped into MP almost immediately on DS3 (just got it in the humble monthly unlock) and had an absolute blast. I plan to get the DS remaster when that comes out, so I can play the MP with friends and finally finish the game.

  18. Eleriel says:

    at least it got a decent port for PC… unlike 1. (yeah, they’re correcting it as we speak but… even if you shower afterwards, getting drenched in shit has a mental component to it.)

  19. Kyir says:

    The idea that Bloodborne is the best souls game is pretty questionable I think. The healing system is garbage, I think the music’s at least a few notches below the rest of the series (regardless of who composed it, I don’t quite remember,) and I didn’t find any of the bosses to be super memorable.

    Anyway, Dark Souls 2 is top 3 souls games at least.

    • fish99 says:

      Why is the healing system garbage?

      • Daymare says:

        I sorta liked it less because especially at the beginning I had to farm them a bunch to have enough to then wipe at bosses the next 10 times. Basically twice the repetitiveness for the price of one. Not sure what exactly that accomplished.

        I do like that, if you play your cards right, enemies drop enough to extend your explorations at least a bit. But that could’ve worked just fine if you found “additional estus charges” instead of a consumable item.

        • fish99 says:

          Sure I didn’t like the grinding for healing, but I assumed Kyir had a more serious criticism of how healing worked in combat. I guess not.

          For the record Demon’s Souls required more grinding and you went through your herbs and spices a lot quicker.

  20. simontifik says:

    Dark Souls 2, with the Scholar of the first Sin changes is the best Souls game of the lot! There I said it.

    Dark Souls one is tight. Dark Souls 3 is boring, been there, done that. Dark Souls 2 is broad, variety in enemies and environments, so many viable builds, the best PVP in the series. The other games are on PlayStation so who cares?

  21. AEKR says:

    This entire comment thread–and the article that precedes it–is a horrifying study into the conformity of geeks. I hope you all feel edgy enough to sleep tonight.

    • Monggerel says:

      I do not know how to interpret this. Help plis.

      • Daymare says:

        The poster means that all people who like Soulsborne games are mindless sheeple because they all like the same things. (An amazing find — in a comment section on a Soulsborne game!)

        I once met a bunch of people who all liked pancakes. I can’t stand these conformist eaters.

        Wake up, sheeple!

    • fish99 says:

      Even though there’s hugely contradictory opinions here? Honestly I don’t feel like you read many of the posts above.

  22. Monggerel says:

    I’ll say this for Dark Souls II: that Majula sure is pretty.

  23. mike55 says:

    UGH. You ranked them in the exact opposite order I would have. Are you sure you played all of them????? Here is my history with the series in the order I played them:

    Demon Souls: an amazingly original game that was way ahead of it’s time that absolutely knocked my socks off
    Dark Souls: I just couldn’t get into it that much
    Dark Souls 2: probably my favorite game of all time of all time, beat it on NG+5
    Bloodbourne: made it 1/2 through the game and gave up
    Dark Souls 3: Pretty good, played through it once.

    Now I haven’t gone back to play them to see how they all hold up nowadays, but if I had to rank them based on how I remember them at the time I played:

    1)Dark Souls 2
    2)Demon Souls
    3)Dark Souls 3
    5)Dark Souls

    So yeah, the exact opposite order as me =(