Home » News, PlayStation 3

Dark Souls II beta impressions


19:4013/10/2013Posted by Chris Braithwaite3 Comments

I was lucky enough to be one of the 5,000 people who were able to access the Dark Souls II PS3 network test beta on Saturday night. The purpose of the beta was to test the online functionality of the game. This meant that the beta was a limited time deal: a scant two hours, to ensure that the maximum stress was put on the server, with all beta participants online together. But two hours was plenty of time to get some insight as to what might be in store for the masochistic gamer when Dark Souls II is released in March 2014.

“You died.” That’s what appears to be in store. Dark Souls II seems to continue the series’ effort to prove Thomas Hobbes’ right: where everyone else may be seeking to profit from your death, life will be nasty, brutish and short.

The beta gave access to the area of Huntman’s Copse, a series of dark forests and darker caves. It feels like this area probably sits a few hours into the game, after progressing past maybe one or two bosses. We got to pick from six level 20 characters based on familiar classes: powerful warriors, wise mages, and anything in between. A new addition is Dual Swordsman, which is something of a labelling update: it’s always been possible to dual wield in the series to date. It’s just never been hugely effective, given the complete absence of defensive abilities that it affords, and the importance of defence in Souls games.

Naturally, being an idiot, I chose the Dual Swordsman. And then I took a wrong turn from the opening bonfire and died. Respawning mere steps away, I decided that jumping off a cliff again was probably a bad idea, so headed up a hill the other way, to meet my first enemy: a shambling zombie-like creature, evoking the hollows from the Undead Burg of Dark Souls, and offering as much challenge. One dead zombie later, and despite the foreboding pitch black cave that offered the only option for progress, I confidently pressed on. And fell off a cliff to my death.

Long falls and painful landings became a recurring theme of my time with the beta, but eventually I managed to stop jumping off cliffs long enough to reach a second bonfire, and was then promptly smashed into the ground by a dual-scimitar wielding troll on a bridge. After exacting my revenge on him and his colleagues, and just about surviving a series of ambushes by groups of agile rogues (who appear very fond of surrounding you and attacking from all directions if their original ambush didn’t kill you), my progress was finally halted by a necromancer and his resurrecting skeleton horde. And a nearby cliff.

The summary of my time with the beta is this: If you’re worried that the departure of series director Hidetaka Miyazaki might have imbued Dark Souls II with a more forgiving nature, stop worrying. But the sense of fair play that made death a curiously satisfying experience in previous games in the series remains: you’ll die with great regularity, but it’s still because you weren’t smart enough, or quick enough, or patient enough. You’ll learn, you’ll improve, and when your blood, sweat and tears yield real, definable progress, even within the meagre realms of the beta, it’s a cause for celebration.

The experiences in Huntsman’s Copse seems to confirm that the core ethos of the game is largely unchanged from that established in Demon Souls, and in fact, there seems to be little that is new beyond minor tweaks. However, these tweaks come together nicely to make the beta feel like it has a chance to be the best in the Souls series to date.

Death is a near constant state, and it has consequences, but only minor ones: about 15% of your health bar becomes off limits until you return to the land of the living. Dual wielding is a viable tactical option, particularly when facing large, powerful enemies, where avoiding attacks entirely is preferable to trying to block them. Combat generally feels slightly more polished and agile, and your character is noticeably quicker running forward into battle than in previous Souls games (and noticeably slower when retreating, you coward!).

Summoning (and being summoned) was easy, although it remains to be seen whether this will continue to be the case in the final game, or was simply a function of the concentrated nature of the beta environment. Summoning appears to be more useful than previously was the case, simply because once summoned you can now heal yourself, making summoned companions useful allies, rather than wayward children to keep a watchful eye on. Healing in battle continues to be near-impossible, but healing outside of battle has been bolstered by consumable lifegems (available on top of your limited-use but refillable estus flask), which feels like a helpful addition, without compromising the constant fear of death present in previous games.

All in all, the couple of hours I got to spend with the Dark Souls II beta were a hugely positive experience, allaying the concerns that I had about the potential softening of the game with new directors Yui Tanimura and Tomohiro Shibuya on board. If I had to use one word to describe my feelings towards Dark Souls II, it would be sanguine: optimistic and hopeful, but as a bonus, it also means bloody.

Have you downloaded the latest issue from GamerZines yet? Check it out here!

3 Comments »

  • Dark souls 2 free download said:

    The problems involving dark souls 2 free download has been a popular topic
    amongst scholars for many years. At first glance dark souls 2 download free may
    seem unenchanting, however its study can be described as necessity for any one wanting to intellectually
    advance beyond their particular childhood.
    Until recently viewed as taboo amongst polite contemporary
    culture, several of todays most brilliant minds seem incompetent at recognising its increasing relevance to understanding future
    several years. It still has the capability to shock those politicaly minded individuals living up
    to now, many of whom don’t comprehend the full chance of dark
    souls 2 download free. With the primary purpose of demonstrating my
    considerable intellect I may now demonstrate the complexity and large
    number of faceted issue that is normally dark souls 2 download free.

    Social Factors

    Comparisons between Roman The community and Medieval Society convey a clear picture
    of benefit of dark souls 2 download free to developments in community conduct.

    I will not offend the readers inteligence simply by explaining this obvious
    comparison deeper. When The Tygers of Pan Tang
    sang ‘It’s lonely at the pinnacle. Everybody’s trying to would
    you in’ [1], they shead new gentle on dark souls 2
    download free, allowing man to get by the hand and understand its
    momentum. While deviating from the norm will always cause unrest amongst ones peers, dark souls 2 download free bravely illustrates what i am most afraid of,
    what clothing deep down in your hearts.

    Status, Security, Fame – dark souls 2 free download, all
    revolve around the following ‘golden fleece’.
    If society provides a favourite child, it is dark souls 2 download free.

    Economic Factors

    Increasingly economic growth and innovation have been
    attributed to dark souls 2 free download. We will primarily be
    focusing on the JTB-Guide-Dog model, your complex but ultimately pleasing system.

    Market
    Value
    From
    Gold

    dark souls 2 free download

    Indisputably there is a link. How can this become explained?
    My personal view is that this market value of gold will eventually escape from the powerful sway
    of dark souls 2 free download, but not before we experience a standardised commercial policy for.
    The economic policy spectrum is seeing a period of time of unprecedented growth.

    Political Factors

    Modern politics owes much for the animal kingdom.

    Contrasting the numerous political activists campaigning
    for any interests of dark souls 2 download free can
    be like examining the two sides from dark souls 2 free download.

    Let us consider which of that silver tongued orator,
    one of several great political analysts Kuuipo Skank ‘Taking
    a walk across hot coals will inevitably hurt the feet. ‘ [2] What
    a great quote. To paraphrase, the quote is saying
    ‘dark souls 2 free download wins votes. ‘ Uncomplicated as that.

    The question which must each ask ourselves is normally, will we allow dark souls 2 free download to
    win our vote?
    Conclusion

    To conclude dark souls 2 download free has played a large
    part inside development of man in the 20th Century and the country’s influence remains
    strong. It sings an exciting new song, influences the influencers, together with always chips in.

    For a parting shot here could be the words of super-star Distance Astaire: ‘At first
    I actually was afraid I had been petrified. Thinking I could for no reason live without dark souls 2 free
    download by my side. a.

  • ultimate team coins said:

    that they change, But exactly what the odds of a roaring success? i do not feel comfortable with even a 70% picture.

  • Cgminer said:

    9797 898748dog grooming may be the specialty of my sister, she actually loves grooming every dog in our house 366742

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.