Dark Souls II: Prepare to die… Again!
Dark Souls II: Mysterious Warrior – Who is our hero?
The past few days have been exciting for me and many many others, concerning the trailers, teaser videos, lore speculation and official gameplay footage with Dark Souls II director, Yui Tanimura. I thoroughly enjoyed each thing I found within and I have drawn some of my own conclusions as well from not only playing the games but second, seeing story plot arcs come into focus once I began watching these videos and reading at a feverish pace all I could find on the subject. (cause you have to validate your claims)
Isn’t it scary though, seeing something so awesome and then being hyped up for what could be several years just to find out it didn’t quite measure up to your hopes? Well I can’t promise to extinguish those doubts but what I can tell you is that Demons Souls/Dark Souls are games that do not follow a traditional formula, they are really unique amongst other games in their genre and some may say even deserve a genre of their own. What I mean by saying that is the hype will be delivered at higher level subliminally simply because we do not have much to measure a game like Dark Souls II on, yet!
The graphics seems to be the biggest improvement I have seen so far and as much as I hate saying it, it could be the best improvement they could have made. Thinking back to Demons Souls, despite the brutal deaths and rewarding victory of escaping it, there wasn’t alot to convey the artists direction in terms of underlying themes past what the player generated themselves. In Dark Souls the graphics got a boost and man did you feel the ambiance around you. The vibrant world gave way to a richer experience because the connection you formed emotionally was more detailed, like the world was, as compared to Demons Souls. Lastly on this, Dark Souls II really looks to boost this aspect again and in my opinion is going to be a blending of the two games’ style. There appears to be the solitude and suffering undertones of Demons Souls, illustrated with the color palette and open world environments Dark Souls boasted. You also see that there could in fact be environmental effects. If that is true, imagine what the minds at FromSoft. could do with a mechanic like this. It’s more than just a story telling device, it could be a riveting mechanic to drive home just how alone you really are, undead without cause and hope on the verge of utter ruin.
I have two more things I want to touch on that really spoke to me as I became engrossed in this footage, the lore of Dark Souls II and the hero being portrayed. Dark Souls II Video
Firstly, the lore seems to be connected to Dark Souls, but feels logically like a prequel, a story that takes place before bonfires, during the time of the dragons. This is really interesting but without getting into the why it makes more sense to me to think of Dark Souls II as a prequel, because of the DLC Artorias of the Abyss, which felt like a destination and not a place for a sequel. This leaves developers nearly open reigns to creatively energize this IP with new ideas and bridge the gap between a somewhat cryptic lore system in Dark Souls and this new content coming out for PC and the next gen systems.
The hero being portrayed brings up alot of questions in my mind. Are there going to be characters to choose from, a class system? If not, does everyone play this one guy and if so who is he and how does he overcome death as he approaches his goal? This goes back to lore a little but is really intriguing to me. Could it be Gwynn’s offspring? Artorias the Abysswalker?
In closing it is my opinion that this could be the best out of the three games in the ‘Souls’ franchise, given the timing, story and beautiful art style. With the new direction behind Dark Souls II and the short video we saw earlier, it’s hard to say if this game mirrors the same experience but what I took away from his words and the gameplay footage is the new direction, at least for this release appears to focus more on the experience the player has emotionally, to drive the player, whereas before it was ALL about the difficulty. I am referring to rumors that Dark Souls II has an ‘easy mode’ or a system in place to reduce the painstakingly challenging behemoth down a few notches. While it’s impossible to say how that would affect the game for each individual person, I do think it is counter-productive for From Software’s ‘reputation’, in terms of defining their place as a developer making these types of games, to include an easy mode or something similar. Wow, sorry that was a mouthful, but I will say if you are involved in a game like this and play it as you want to, you will get satisfaction from it, don’t shoot down your hope on a whim! Lastly, combat seems to be much different in regards to how challenging the game is. That could be where the challenge is bolstered for people ‘if mechanics’ are easier. The enemies from the video seem to fight smarter and react differently to you than the AI we are used to, so that, combined with the graphical boost, potential environmental effects and emotional play could really be a fresh, riveting experience for even us veterans! There is also talk about multiplayer receiving a much needed boost, making this a system seller and a must have for fans of gothic high fantasy. Although there are supposedly going to be vehicles (mild panic) I can’t wait for more information on this and will be sure to post what I find for you all to see if you haven’t seen the ‘light’ already. 🙂 Happy Souls to all you fans!
Oh and I had to throw in the chariot monster, seen in the video totally reminds me of Legend of Grimrock, another game the geeks here at GWW have come to love, check it out on Steam if you are interested.