DARK SOULS II
From Software/Bandai Namco
PS3 (also on Xbox 360, PC)
Die, die, die. Die, die, die, die, die. Die. Die. Die.
an excerpt from our game diary for Dark Souls II day one–
and that was just while it loaded! Damn this game’s tough.
That’s what the first Dark Souls was renowned for, of
course. It was hard but, crucially, it was fair. If – scratch that,
when - you carked it, it was your own stupid fault. You may’ve been
too gung-ho, a tad overconfident, under-equipped or just plain dumb.
DSII continues this tradition, although perhaps to allow
adventurers to retain sanity for a wee while introductory bits are
smidgily more encouraging. Have they gone softcock on us? Answer
that six hours in...
Pausing for the uninitiated, DSII’s
a dark fantasy action RPG that’s unforgiving. There, that should
suffice. No map, no hand-holding and – mercifully - no invisible
walls. Wanna walk over that ledge? Sure. But you’ll die. Serves you
You pick one of eight classes to commence
your soul-searching quest, varying in skills, abilities and fashion
sense. Some can shoot from a distance, others are like humanoid
tanks for storm-the-castle types. Each class has myriad upgradable
statistics which can daunt initially, but soon make sense and allow
eventual class equalisation.
delightfully sneaky. Take a big snowy boombah monster thingummy we
spotted in the distance. “We can take it!” we thought, confidence
oozing all over the carpet and sopping up bond money. We went sneaky
from behind... We were almost within striking distance... BWARGH!
Its hitherto unseen twin crept up behind us and ate our face – and
the rest of us. But it didn’t feel cheap.
That neatly sums up
DSII. Nothing, from presentation to gameplay, ever feels
cheap. It may freak the fuck out of those inured to linear,
nursey-nursey spoon-fed fare, but anybody craving rewarding
challenge should – happily - prepare to die.