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Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin Twists Our Melons

It's out, and okay

Praise the sun, very good, and other quotes you might recognise from a video game you once played: Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin [official site] launched yesterday. It's essentially the 'game of the year edition' of From Software's die 'em up sequel, coming with all the DLC included as well as a few tweaks to the game and its graphics.

Publishers Namco Bandai are offering discounts for folks who own the original Dark Souls II, but in the cold light of day, the changes seem quite slight and perhaps not worth upgrading for. If you can figure out the upgrades. Come marvel at the longest on-topic RPS Treehouse discussion ever as we puzzled over it.

Scholar of the First Sin brings a new 64-bit, DirectX 11 version which improves the graphics a touch, but still doesn't look as good as those very first trailers. It also introduces a new NPC invader and changes level layouts a bit, shuffling item and monster placement to surprise jaded veterans. Then there are secret things people are starting to find, like an invisible hollow who can't be seen but casts a shadow. Mysterious!

If you're coming fresh to Dark Souls II, it's the perfect place to start, but upgrading seems expensive for what you get.

Confusingly, Scholar of the First Sin is also the name Namco Bandai are using for what's essentially a 'game of the year' edition, bundling the original 32-bit, DX9 version of the game with the DLC season pass. This version does not include any of the changes. And buying one version does not get you the other too, so make sure you get the right one.

As we've spent fifteen minutes confusing each other in the RPS Treehouse over the pricing tiers, I'll try to break it down simply:

  • If you don't own DS2 at all, you can buy the reworked 64-bit/DX11 version (which includes the DLC) for £29.99.
  • If you don't own DS2 at all, you can buy the original 32-bit/DX9 version bundled with the DLC season pass for £29.99.
  • If you own DS2 and all three DLC chapters, you can buy the reworked 64-bit/DX11 version (which includes the DLC) for £11.99.
  • If you own DS2 without the DLC, you can buy the reworked 64-bit/DX11 version (which includes the DLC) for £19.99.
  • If you own DS2 without the DLC, you can buy the DLC season pass for your old 32-bit version for £19.99.
  • You can no longer buy DS2 without the DLC on Steam.

Anyway, here's YouTube user 'wickfut' running through the first few areas on PC in 1080p at 60fps:

Cover image for YouTube video

As for that Treehouse chat, flick on over to the second page and prepare to shake your head at us.

Alice: Do any of y'all have Dark Souls II plus the DLC season pass? Does this page tell you how much upgrading would be? just checking how they've localised $20
Alec: £19.99 for 'special upgrade price' if you own DS2 on steam
dunno if I have season pass
Adam: I have the season pass - £19.99
Alice: Hm. £20 should be the price for owning it without any DLC. Maybe it's a weird discount applied elsewhere. Thanks for checking, all.
Alec: ok, had to refresh steam a bunch but it now says £11.99
that's based on my having DS2 + Season Pass
Adam: oh yeah, Alec is right
Alec: though that's for the 64bit fancy pants version
oddly it says the 32bit is £29.99
very confused
Alice: It's a big mess.
Alec: seems the 32bit only comes as part of a bundle with DS2 itself & DLC
so: £29.99 for 32bit bundle
Alice: The 32-bit/DX9 version is your usual GotY edition sort of thing - original game + DLC. 64-bit/DX11 is the one with changes to the game too.
Alec: £19.99 if you own DS2
£11.99 if you own DS2+season pass
Adam: the 32 bit version is the original with DLC - essentially the same as the season pass bundle.
wot alice said
Alec: so if you want everything in one fell swoop you have to pay £29.99+£11.99, but if you don't care about 64bit/dx11 you can lose that £11.99
and you can longer buy 'just' ds2
Alice: No, £29.99 will get you the new DX11 version and the DLC
Adam: yeah, £29.99 gets you the whole Scholar of the First Sin package if you don't already have vanilla
you don't need to pay again
John: This is the best conversation ever.
Alec: as far as I can tell the £29.99 bundle does not have the 64bit version; it points you to a different page
Adam: but if you bought Dark Souls II without the season pass, it's £19.99 for the upgrade, £12.99 if you do have the season pass.
Alec: actually I can find out with the Add To Account button
John: Please cut and paste this into a post.

Alec: yeah, it's telling me I still need to pay £11.99 even tho I have the bundle
Adam: the thing at the top there contains everything - the thing below is exactly the same but at a discount because I have the season pass
but you'd never need to buy both
it shouldn't show the top thing at all since I have the season pass really
Alec: ok I did the Add To Account from the 64bit page and only now does it say I have everything
I am positive that you need to pay that additional £11.99 if you already own DS2+season pass but want the 64bit upgrade
Alice: Yes, that's right Alec
Adam: Alec - that's right
Alec: you get a 32bit Scholar for 'free' as part of your season pass, but the 64-bit is a whole other thing
Adam: But if you don't have anything you don't need to pay £29.99 and then £11.99
just the 29.99
I don't think there is a 32bit scholar is there?
Graham: I think this is the longest I've ever seen a single topic of discussion last in here.
Alice: There is! It costs £29.99. But is only the original game plus the season pass, without any of the changes.
Alec: yes but it's an umbrella title for a bunch of old stuff I think
Alice: I don't know why it costs the same as the fancier 64-bit version.
Adam: burn it down
Alec: the question remains if starting from nothing and going straight to the 29.99 bundle gets you the 64-bit; think we'd actually need to buy it from a new account to find out
Alice: Yeah, it does. That's this.
Adam: yeah, that's the thing I screengrabbed - 64bit, £29.99 or an upgrade option. This would make a lot more sense if the Steam store page didn't show the full price product when an account qualifies for an upgrade
Alice: Our script for a 21st century Ealing Comedy reboot is rubbish.
Alec: there are two separate bundles, two separate store pages. What we still don't know is if each bundle also contains the other bundle.
Alice: They don't, but why would you want them to?
Adam: It's like the guy in Burger King asks if you want to 'go large' and you say yes and then he gets confused and charges you for a medium meal AND a large meal. JUST LIKE THAT
Pip: I would actually post this conversation as an article - john's right
Alec: well you might have a dx9 card today but are getting a dx11 one for your birthday
it'd stink to find you're locked out of more graphics settings for a game you already own unless you find another £12
Alice: That's true.
Adam: and you really don't want the drink because it's a pain in the arse to carry it while you're trying to eat your fries and walking to the bus station but it's cheaper to buy it as a meal WITH the drink
Alec: essentially, this is just a dick move. Each bundle should contain two executables
buncha other games do that
and there should only be one bundle, ofc.
I feel like screaming, and I don't even know who at.
Alice: oh god the checkout doesn't explicitly say 64-bit or 32-bit in the game name I am going to double-check this a dozen times
Adam: "Gamers are in for a big surprise in DARK SOULS™ II: Scholar of the First Sin."

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.