993 deaths. That’s how many times I died on my way to finishing my journey through Drangelic, which went on for about 57 hours[played over a span of two weeks]. And I’m bloody happy about it. I guess I’m going to take a sabbatical from gaming, after such an amazing, brutal experience. Because I’m pretty sure no other new game is going to be as brutal as this one.
The plot centers around the protagonist, who has been cursed for his sins, and is trying to seek a cure for it in the mysterious world of Drangelic, an abode of dragons and presently, also the undead. The protagonist seeks an audience with the King, as he is the only one capable of doing something about the curse, or so we’re told. The plot is pretty vague, with most of the snippets in some of the items you collect, and some important chunks in dialogue with the NPCs.
In Dark Souls 2,death is a certainty.You WILL die in this game a lot,but more
importantly,what you learnt about your enemy by the time you died, that’s what
matters. Because this game is all about dying, respawning, and trying to not repeat your previous mistakes. And that exhilarating feeling you get after you defeat a boss, no other game I’ve played has even come close to giving me that excitement because, mind you, bosses in this game don’t go down easily by any means. Depending on your fighting style, you will find yourself constantly dodging out of harm’s way, or blocking the super-powerful attacks that are sent down your way, then putting in two-three quick attacks. Rinse. Repeat. Unless you die, which you will, a lot, as the game is by no means lenient on mistakes you make. More often than not, you’ll be penalized heavily for making even a slight miscalculation, as I found out, to my chagrin, on more than a few occasions. Also, every boss has a distinct way of fighting, be it melee or magic. Despite this,the game never feels impossible to beat,just difficult to master.
But it’s not just the bosses. Even a low-level grunt packs enough in him to take you down, if you try to get a little too cheeky with him. And if you somehow end up facing of against three or four of them,good luck to you, mate, as something tells me that that is all that’s separating you from yet another grisly death. The key to fighting your enemy is to lure them out, one after another, and dispatching them one at a time. Safe, if somewhat inefficient, but one must make do with it. Also, combats with grunts aren’t always necessary, some sections of the game you can afford to just run through until you reach the next checkpoint, unless you are interested in farming souls.
Souls. They are the most important things in the game, as they help you level up, upgrade your armor/weapons, buy stuff…basically, souls are what keep you surviving throughout the whole of the game, which you obtain by killing enemies and collecting some items. When you die, the souls you had on you fall at the place you die, and in the next attempt, if you die without collecting your souls, you lose them forever. Hence, your next attempt [if you happened to have a crazy amount of souls]turns into a mad dash for recovering them, and this is where the game tends to screw you over royally, as in your hurry to get to your souls, you try dodging and running through enemies you could rather have fought and defeated comfortably, and die by their hand, or by accidentally rolling of one of the numerous cliff and ledges in the game, then curse at your carelessness.
Bonfires. The other most important thing in the game. They serve as places for you to rest[double as checkpoints], and also refill your Estus Flask, an item which serves as a health potion which can always be replenished at bonfires. Initially, Estus Flask is a one-time use, but it can be upgraded by finding Estus Flask Shards, which increase the number of uses by one, for every shard collected. Also, there is an item called Sublime Bone Dust, which, when burnt at the Majula bonfire[the safe haven of the world], increases the healing potency of Estus.
There are a myriad good things to speak of in this game, but it isn’t perfect. It has flaws, and a few of them will frustrate you to no end, especially when they are the reason you end up dead against a boss. The one notable flaw is the collision detection system the game has. The game shows you getting injured, even though you might have executed a perfect dodge, and sometimes enemy weapons cause damage to you even after you have dived under its range, which makes no sense. And some of the bosses have ridiculous weapon range, almost a 300 degree range in fact. Also, there was this one boss-fight about 15 hours into the game, who wears pitch-black clothes, as if the dimly-lit area wasn’t enough, and he’s fast. I died more times trying to figure out where he was, than actually fighting and losing due to mistimed attacks/dodges.
But my advice to you is: do not let these negatives stop you from trying out this game. This game isn’t for everyone; I admit it. But if you are the kind of gamer who hasn’t ever let the game’s difficulty put you off, prepare yourself for a brutal, tense journey that will temper you. So, are you ready for this trial by fire?
RATING : 9.6/10 [ SINGLE PLAYER ONLY ]
– beautiful environments
– non-linear gameplay and story
– challenging overall
– vague story
– faulty collision detection
– occasional difficulty spikes