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Dark Souls II Review Roundup

3 min read
111

Dark souls torch

Dark Souls brought back that idea that it was cool for mainstream games to be unspeakably hard, that grinding in an RPG to use souls and get stronger just might crush your own soul. The sequel is almost upon us, but embargo has lifted and reviews are emerging from the darkness – are you ready?

  • IGN: 9.0 – Dark Souls II is a smart, massive, and incredibly rewarding sequel. Itโ€™s crammed with deep systems, tense encounters, and enough clever multiplayer and New Game Plus elements to make me want to restart the second I saw the end credits. Not all of the tweaks and additions worked out for the best, but with such great enemies and levels to fight and explore, Dark Souls II made 60 hours of pain and agony so much fun they flew by in a heartbeat.
  • Kotaku: Yes – A stellar, challenging experience that borrows from its predecessors while making significant and complicated design changes.
  • Destructoid: 9 – Superb: A hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won’t cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.
  • Game Informer: 9.75 – When many think of the Souls games the conversation inevitably turns to discussion of difficulty. The baseline difficulty is on par with its predecessor, but there are new ways to bolster the challenge for the hardcore via a covenant and bonfire items. New Game+ modes are available as well. However, focusing strictly on the challenge takes away from much of the brilliance that comes from creating a dark, atmospheric adventure that assumes that players donโ€™t need their hands held throughout the experience. Dark Souls II respects you enough to assume you can figure things out, despite having perhaps lost some of these sensibilities by playing other titles that walk you through on tether from start to finish. As a result, the rewards and achievements are that much more satisfying. Itโ€™s only March, but Dark Souls II stands tall as a potential game of the year.
  • The Escapist: 4.5/5 – Everything that made Dark Souls into a cult success carries over: complex game mechanics, punishing but fair gameplay and a richly detailed setting if you dig a little deeper. To keep things fresh, this is peppered with a mix of new elements, from improved graphics and game engine to a better designed starting sequence and new mechanics. Dark Souls II is a perfect sequel to Dark Souls.
  • OXM: 8.0 – A true sequel, Dark Souls II has some new ideas, but hews closelyย to its predecessor’s template. Game mechanics are improved in nearly every way, but it struggles to separate teasingly vague from painfully obtuse.
  • Polygon: 9.0 – Dark Souls 2’s brilliance is worth the exhaustion. But you know what? I did survive, and damn it, I’m proud of that. The Souls games have rarely been about fun, but Dark Souls 2’s smart tweaks and concessions brought out positive emotions even amidst the pain and exhaustion. It’s still a stressful experience, but it’s easier than ever to recognize the brilliance in those moments of triumph that make it more than worth the struggle.

Wow! So, universally high review scores for Dark Souls II. As if I weren’t already itching to get back into that dark, horrifying world. I’m a bit worried about IGN saying they managed to finish it in 60 hours, but I’m going to assume they didn’t hit all the side areas and probably treated it like something of a speed run. In any event, our review will be up as soon as we can stop rocking ourselves and crying into the night.

Last Updated: March 11, 2014

111 Comments

  1. Umar Praise The Golden Sun

    March 11, 2014 at 09:20

    I watched the GameTrailers, he spent well over 100 hours and still uncovering secrets ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply

    • RinceThis

      March 11, 2014 at 09:20

      Are you ready?!

      Reply

      • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

        March 11, 2014 at 09:23

        Bro, gosh my ass is beyond ready for this game!!

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          March 11, 2014 at 09:24

          O_o

          Reply

        • Unavengedavo(aka. Bilbo)

          March 11, 2014 at 10:10

          Reply

          • Mossel

            March 11, 2014 at 10:26

            LOL I need to brush up on my astronomy! My first thought was: “PrePear Saturn? Defuq?”

          • VampyreSquirrel

            March 11, 2014 at 10:48

            lol! Prepear Pluto? no, that’s not right either… ummm… Prepear Jupiter? no that doesn’t sound right either….

  2. RinceThis

    March 11, 2014 at 09:20

    My body is ready!

    Reply

    • General JJ the Fett

      March 11, 2014 at 09:24

      I’m sure it is.

      Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      March 11, 2014 at 09:25

      But is your mind?

      Reply

      • RinceThis

        March 11, 2014 at 09:25

        Mind? That was lost a long time ago ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          March 11, 2014 at 09:25

          Then you should be fine.

          Reply

          • RinceThis

            March 11, 2014 at 09:26

            You said you would be nice to me on my bday! Lies!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:29

            How dare you sir! I was continuing along with your joke.

          • RinceThis

            March 11, 2014 at 09:29

            I, I… I’m sorry!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:30

            I forgive you.

          • Unavengedavo(aka. Bilbo)

            March 11, 2014 at 09:59

            Wait, is it your b-day today? O_o

          • RinceThis

            March 11, 2014 at 10:01

            GahhhH! And yes.

          • ToshZA

            March 11, 2014 at 10:05

            Happy birthday nub. May your minions praise you ever more.

          • RinceThis

            March 11, 2014 at 10:12

            Thanks bro ๐Ÿ™‚

          • VampyreSquirrel

            March 11, 2014 at 10:49

            Happy birthday dude. May the souls of others forever feed you and your minions.

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 10:10

            Happy things with nice other things and hope you have good stuff and a nice future things.

          • RinceThis

            March 11, 2014 at 10:12

            Stop being so damn specific!

          • Skoobaz

            March 11, 2014 at 14:41

            Happy B day!

          • RinceIsIngwer

            March 11, 2014 at 14:43

            Thanks bro!

        • HvR

          March 11, 2014 at 09:48

          And your soul??

          Oh wait …… nevermind..

          Reply

          • RinceThis

            March 11, 2014 at 10:01

            Oi!

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    March 11, 2014 at 09:23

    60 hours is nothing to be sneezed at.

    Reply

    • General JJ the Fett

      March 11, 2014 at 09:24

      Bless you.

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        March 11, 2014 at 09:39

        Nooooooooooooooooo I’m meeellllllllltiiiiiiiinnnnnnggggggggg

        Reply

        • TiMsTeR1033

          March 11, 2014 at 09:43

          *inserted slow mo voice with high pitch at end*

          Reply

  4. Brenz

    March 11, 2014 at 09:27

    Awesome reviews all round, I am happy!
    60 hours is not a bad time really, its actually quite a decent length imo.

    Reply

  5. Umar Praise The Golden Sun

    March 11, 2014 at 09:27

    Pr…pppp……PRRRRRR…PRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIISE!!!!!!

    http://i.imgur.com/bw2ncZ4.gif

    Reply

  6. VampyreSquirrel

    March 11, 2014 at 09:28

    How is “Yes” a valid score? Huh Kotaku?

    Reply

    • RinceThis

      March 11, 2014 at 09:30

      Go easy on them, they’ve forgotten how to review games because they are too busy posting about Japanese craziness…

      Reply

      • VampyreSquirrel

        March 11, 2014 at 09:31

        Japanese craziness is a good thing

        Reply

      • Brenz

        March 11, 2014 at 09:31

        The effects of nuclear fallout can be directly related to a significant decrease in mathematical ability…..or so I heard once from some guy.

        Reply

        • RinceThis

          March 11, 2014 at 09:32

          Firstly, OUCH, secondly HAHAHAH!

          Reply

    • General JJ the Fett

      March 11, 2014 at 09:30

      It’s better than “No”, I assume.

      Just because the name is Asian doesn’t mean they’re good with numbers. Racist!

      Reply

      • VampyreSquirrel

        March 11, 2014 at 09:32

        Hey! don’t call me lacist!

        damned eyelinerboy

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          March 11, 2014 at 09:33

          Stop mocking him for his Egyptian heritage that he’s obviously proud of!

          Reply

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:34

            Suppose that’s better than nothing.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:34

            I got your back.

          • Admiral Chief in Vegas

            March 11, 2014 at 09:35

            Sounds kinky…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:38

            Most things do when the married listen to the non-married.

          • Admiral Chief in Vegas

            March 11, 2014 at 09:41

            If your definition of kinky is linked to JJ’s back, then I’ll take my “married” life with over 9000 smiles ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:42

            HOT LINKED, BABY!

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:42

            The beard makes it worth it.

          • VampyreSquirrel

            March 11, 2014 at 09:35

            Why you taking sides with Cleo!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:36

            There’s only one side – mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:37

            Hey hey hey!
            Since the Emperor’s people made us build the Sphinx in their honour when they visited earth thousands of years ago we’ve formed a friendship.
            And also, it’s Osiris. Not Cleo.

          • VampyreSquirrel

            March 11, 2014 at 09:37

            Whatever Cleo -.-

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:38

            Aaaahhhh!!!!!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:39

            My work here is done.

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:40

            That was a battle cry. Burning their beachless, mountainless, taxi infested city to the ground!!!

          • RinceThis

            March 11, 2014 at 09:45

            Is that a fungal infection? 0-O

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:45

            Technically, parasites aren’t infections.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 11, 2014 at 09:46

            but they nasty none the less.

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:47

            At least they’re not from JoBurg. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 11, 2014 at 09:47

            I was waiting for that..

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:46

            haha you tell him! …. hey? O_o

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 11, 2014 at 09:47

            on behalf of my sire lord Rincethis, shutup minion.

        • General JJ the Fett

          March 11, 2014 at 09:33

          Whoa whoa whoa. Let’s not get personal so early. I’d hate to start a big fight with an in-lander this time of the day ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Reply

        • TiMsTeR1033

          March 11, 2014 at 09:41

          Hey only I can call him that.

          Reply

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:41

            You tell him Tim!
            Wait, what?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 11, 2014 at 09:41

            Fight for your man Tanya!

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 11, 2014 at 09:42

            I WILL!!! 0_o

          • VampyreSquirrel

            March 11, 2014 at 09:53

            Sorry Tanya, I’ll stop calling Cleo “Eyelinerboy”

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 09:54

            I resent that!
            This is getting out of control!
            You just wait Squirrel, I’ll get you.

          • VampyreSquirrel

            March 11, 2014 at 10:00

            And my little dog too?

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 10:11

            Your little dog? What kind of dog?

          • VampyreSquirrel

            March 11, 2014 at 10:12

            It goes meow… I’m not sure what breed it is ๐Ÿ˜›

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 10:16

            Those are the best. Your dog is safe.

      • RinceThis

        March 11, 2014 at 09:44

        Haha!

        Reply

        • TiMsTeR1033

          March 11, 2014 at 09:45

          Good morning Sire, shall I rain fire apon your minions today?

          Reply

          • RinceThis

            March 11, 2014 at 09:46

            Indeed! Go get em!

    • TiMsTeR1033

      March 11, 2014 at 09:46

      because a Yeth is better than a No

      Reply

    • Willem Swanepoel

      March 11, 2014 at 09:46

      So a 6/10 or a 9/10 makes also so much sense ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply

    • CAE9872

      March 11, 2014 at 09:56

      Damn sight better than 9.75…why not 10, or even 9.5…or just a plain 9!!! I don’t get fractions in review scores – must be basic maths failing me.

      Reply

    • Unavengedavo(aka. Bilbo)

      March 11, 2014 at 10:02

      Reply

  7. Melasco

    March 11, 2014 at 09:30

    Dark Souls took me 73 hours to finish, so if IGN finished DS2 in 60 hours for review purposes, I’m not too worried. I can’t wait! I’m going to take my time with this game, and once I’m done with it sometime late April or May, I can pop in Infamous Second Son that would have been gathering dust on the shelf hehe.

    Lots of awesome gaming ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply

  8. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    March 11, 2014 at 09:33

    I want this game.. so badly! ๐Ÿ™

    Reply

  9. Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    March 11, 2014 at 09:39

    Can’t wait!

    Reply

  10. TiMsTeR1033

    March 11, 2014 at 09:44

    Now just to finish the 1st one!

    Reply

    • Brenz

      March 11, 2014 at 09:47

      Slacker, whats taking you so long!

      Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        March 11, 2014 at 09:48

        The tomb of the giants is scary! Let a man cry in peace!

        Reply

        • Brenz

          March 11, 2014 at 09:52

          ok it can be a bit tricky in the dark i’ll admit, but its a very short area.
          you so close to the end, keep pushing, you got 3 days!

          Reply

  11. Anon A Mouse

    March 11, 2014 at 09:59

    Haven’t played the first one yet. Don’t think my body and mind is ready.

    Reply

  12. Mossel

    March 11, 2014 at 10:02

    I guess I should start with DS1 then. Right after I book myself into rehab for Civ5. JUST ONE MORE TURN! *twitches uncontrollably*

    Reply

    • Unavengedavo(aka. Bilbo)

      March 11, 2014 at 10:06

      Well at least you haven’t been playing the same game for over 10 years…
      http://www.reddit.com/comments/uxpil/ive_been_playing_the_same_game_of_civilization_ii/

      Reply

      • Mossel

        March 11, 2014 at 10:17

        Wow that’s amazing!! I’m going to dedicate the rest of my day to reading the Eternal War.

        Reply

        • Guest

          March 11, 2014 at 10:17

          It’s getting rediculous! I’m getting 5 hours sleep every night because of this!

          Reply

      • General JJ the Fett

        March 11, 2014 at 10:18

        O_O

        Reply

    • General JJ the Fett

      March 11, 2014 at 10:16

      That game does that to a person.

      Reply

      • Mossel

        March 11, 2014 at 10:18

        It’s getting rediculous! I’m getting like 5 hours sleep every night because of this!

        Reply

        • General JJ the Fett

          March 11, 2014 at 10:19

          I actually miss getting that into a game. Haven’t had it in a while.

          Reply

      • Mossel

        March 11, 2014 at 10:20

        I have literally only played one game in Civ5 and I’m already on 16hours of gameplay! But I’m ending it now, gonna wipe everyone out. It’s for the best.

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          March 11, 2014 at 10:24

          That’s how my Civ games usually go, because that’s how I plan to end them from the beginning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Reply

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      March 11, 2014 at 10:24

      don’t remind me! i kicked my CIv 5 addiction… but maybe i should play it again.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief in Vegas

        March 11, 2014 at 10:25

        …just one more turn

        Reply

      • General JJ the Fett

        March 11, 2014 at 10:28

        Be strong.

        Reply

      • Mossel

        March 11, 2014 at 10:35

        Dont do it!! Only once I get all the different victories and win with each civilization will I be free. I will only play another game in about 2 years.

        Reply

        • Her Highness the Hipster

          March 11, 2014 at 10:42

          30% achievement completion… one day i’ll get them all. one day.

          Reply

          • Mossel

            March 11, 2014 at 11:07

            lol I’m on 8%. Still have some way to go!

    • veggiesaurus ZA

      March 11, 2014 at 10:56

      join us for a massive 2v2 game sometime?

      Reply

      • Mossel

        March 11, 2014 at 11:09

        In other words 4 human players? How long does that take because I’ve been playing a SP game for almost 17 hours now! haha. But I’m taking my time, still learning the ropes.

        Reply

        • veggiesaurus ZA

          March 11, 2014 at 11:17

          We play hybrid turns, so unless two teams are at war, turns occur simultaneously. Not going to lie, it takes a LONG time.

          Reply

  13. Corporal Stick

    March 11, 2014 at 10:26

    I remember Dark Souls I .. pointing at the screen while cursing the xbox ..

    Reply

  14. SheHulkNigri

    March 11, 2014 at 15:32

    With choice quotes like these:

    “The Souls games have rarely been about fun…”

    and

    “Itโ€™s still a stressful experience…”
    I am amazed that I have not yet sunk more hours into Dark Souls 1… (Sarcasm)

    Reply

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